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Good to Great

Posted - Dec. 29, 2003 at 4:22 a.m.



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Good to Great is one of those books I bought two years ago more because I thought I should read it than out of a true desire. And as with many things one does out of duty instead of passion, I procrastinated reading it. I finally picked it up this New Year's week deciding that I wanted to begin 2004 with a sense of growth and purpose. I wish I had not put it off. If Good to Great is one of the books you've been thinking of reading for some time, I urge you to pick it up and begin reading today.

And this recommendation from a woman who would not describe herself as a business person, but as one merely interested in the fascinating premise of the book. Researcher and bestselling author of the book Built to Last, Jim Collins starts with the premise that good is the enemy of great. Fascinating. He then goes about extensive research with a team of professionals looking at some 1,400 companies to analzye why it is that some of these companies are able to accomplish the enormous challenge of going from being good, passable, tolerable - to outstanding - and then to sustain that level of excellence. Collins settled on 11 companies, including Fannie Fae, Gillette and Walgreens among others, to see what they had in common, and he came up with six key factors.

One of them is what the author calls "level 5 leaders," leaders who are distinguished not by their giant charisma or egos, but by their humility and dedication. Another concept is what Collins calls "first who, then what?" These companies started by getting the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off) and only then deciding where the bus was going.

Good to Great is a fascinating study of human nature, business and what drives the human spirit to get up in the morning. If you're looking for a way to kick off your new year with a new sense of purpose and drive, I strongly recommend Jim Collins' Good to Great. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio 1160, I'm Amanda Dickson.

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