Good To Great: Jim Collins

Good To Great: Jim Collins

At the World Business Forum:  October 5, 2010

I did not know what to expect from Jim Collins, author of “From Good to Great.” Was this another business strategy that could only be read in a book or would this translate to real life and the everyday reality of business? His words were transformational. Business, says Collins is “simply a subset of human life…great human stories and great human enterprise. Great adventure, great leaders.” It is a “human quest in one way or another.”

Collins spoke about his mentor Peter Drucker, management professor extraordinaire. For those of you who don’t know his work, Drucker was writing about socially responsible business half a century ago, long before it was fashionable. In a discussion with Drucker in 1994, 11 years before his death at age 96, Collins asks the professor which of his 26 books was he “most proud?” Drucker responds, “the next one.” He went on to write ten more books.

After researching Drucker’s volume of books, Collins realizes that the old man had only completed one third of his writings by the time he was 65 years old. Collins asks the WBF audience, “Can you imagine knowing that at age 65 we are only one third of the way through our usefulness?”

In 1994, Collins is worried about his future career and expresses those fears to his mentor. Drucker responds, “You spend too much time worrying about if you will be successful. Why don’t you spend more time trying to be useful?”

On the path from good to great, Jim Collins tells us that great leaders, “Never give up and never give in. “He states that, “The path out of darkness begins with us being constitutionally incapable of capitulation.“ He reminds us that at some point in all of our lives, we will “endure defeat.” To suffer defeat is inevitable he says. But to pull ourselves back up, “We can change tactics but never give up on our core purpose…We can endure loss and pain,” but we must “never give up faith in our ability to prevail.”

Words to live by. Thanks Jim. At the WBF 2010.   #wbf10

Monika Mitchell

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