Our Thoughts

Lessons from Good to Great Companies part 2

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Jan 14 2013

If you are just joining us on this series, be sure to take a look at part 1.

Jim Collins defines a great company as one that consistently makes a distinctive impact to its beneficiaries, has superior performance in its arena of operation and continuously achieves sustained returns in excess of other companies in its industry.

There are countless numbers of companies in the world today yet, only a few are great ones. You will quickly realize after looking at the principles below that, what makes great companies is actually not enigmatic. On the contrary the principles are surprisingly straightforward but seldom practiced by other companies. In other words, great companies are disciplined in doing what’s hard and necessary to get them to greatness.

  • Great companies didn’t decide to get passionate about what they do; rather they decided to only do the things they can be passionate about. They clearly understand what they can be the best at in the world, and equally important what they cannot be the best at. Strategically growing their competencies was a big key to their success; they found their right focus and simply refused to be jacks of many trades.

  • Great companies spent a lot of time in building and maintaining effective work systems that gave people freedom and responsibility within its framework. They hire self-disciplined people who do not need to be supervised; they then manage the system but not the people. As a result, their productivity consistently grows.

  • It is true that when used correctly, technology becomes an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it. However, great companies count 20% of their success on technology and 80% on their company culture. This is because no technology can instill the discipline to confront the brutal facts of reality, nor can it instill unwavering faith amongst the people.

Through the public eye, these companies often look like they were either founded like that or they struck overnight successes, but the reality is that it took years in the making. Discipline is truly the bridge between goals and great accomplishments and it must be crossed every day. Just think about this, discipline is adherence to self imposed restrictions in order to maintain unwavering focus on what you want to be.

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