Jim Collins Good to Great Quotes

Jim Collins is an American author, business consultant, and researcher. He is best known for his books on business leadership, including the bestsellers Good to Great and Built to Last.

Collins was born in 1958 in Beloit, Wisconsin. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in mathematical sciences and an MBA. After working as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, he joined the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1992.

Collins’s research has focused on the factors that distinguish great companies from good companies. He has found that great companies are characterized by a number of traits, including:

  • A focus on the Hedgehog Concept: A clear understanding of what they can be the best in the world at and what they should not try to do.
  • Level 5 Leadership: A type of leadership characterized by humility, fierce resolve, and a deep commitment to the company’s purpose.
  • The Flywheel: A metaphor for the process of gradual, incremental improvement that leads to significant results.

Collins’s books have been translated into 40 languages and have sold over 10 million copies worldwide. He has been recognized as one of the world’s top business thinkers by Thinkers50 and Fast Company.

In addition to his work in the business sector, Collins has also written about leadership in the social sectors, including education, healthcare, and government. He is a passionate advocate for using business principles to solve social problems.

Collins is a thought leader who has had a significant impact on the way we think about business leadership. His books are essential reading for anyone who wants to build a great company or organization.

Quotations from Good to Great

“A culture of discipline is not a principle of business, it is a principle of greatness.”

“Bad decisions made with good intentions, are still bad decisions.”

“Consider the idea that charisma can be as much a liability as an asset. Your strength of personality can sow the seeds of problems.”

“Core values are essential for enduring greatness, but it doesn’t seem to matter what those core values are.”

“Expending energy trying to motivate people is largely a waste of time… if you have the right people on the bus, they will be self-motivated.”

“For no matter what we achieve, if we don’t spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect, we cannot possibly have a great life. But if we spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect – people we really enjoy being on the bus with and who will never disappoint us – then we will almost certainly have a great life, no matter where the bus goes. The people we interviewed from the good-to-great companies clearly loved what they did, largely because they loved who they did it with.”

“For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.”

“Good is the enemy of great.”

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”

“It is not the content of a company’s values that correlates with performance, but the strength of conviction with which it holds those values, whatever they might be. ”

“Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company. It’s not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious–but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves.”

“Smart people instinctively understand the dangers of entrusting our future to self-serving leaders who use our institutions, whether in the corporate or social sectors, to advance their own interests.”

“The best students are those who never quite believe their professors.”

“The good-to-great companies made a habit of putting their best people on their best opportunities, not their biggest problems.”

“The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake. The best people don’t need to be managed. Guided, taught, led–yes. But not tightly managed.”

“The purpose of bureaucracy is to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline–a problem that largely goes away if you have the right people in the first place.”

“We found that for leaders to make something great, their ambition has to be for the greatness of the work and the company, rather than for themselves.”

“You can be passionate all you want, but if you can’t be the best at it or it doesn’t make economic sense, then you might have a lot of fun, but you won’t produce great results.”

“Your status and authority in Nucor come from your leadership capabilities, not your position.”

“Take advantage of difficult economic times to hire great people, even if you don’t have a specific job in mind.”

“A magazine is simply a device to induce people to read advertising.”

“Create the idea, You Are Never Alone.”

“Every responsibility you get make it a pocket of greatness.”

“It is not position. It is not rank. It is not power.”

“It is very difficult to have a meaning life without meaningful work.”

“Leadership is not personality.”

“Most great leaders do not start as great leaders. They grow into great leaders. Will you do whatever it takes to scale your leadership as the demands of your enterprise grows?”

“True leadership is only when people follow when they would have the option not to follow.”

“When you are suffering at the end of the race, you are not running for you.”

“Will you settle for being a good leader, or will you grow to become a great leader?”

Jim Collins takes a few moments to share how his near fatal rock climbing experience taught him some lessons about business.

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