Catalyst: Jim Collins

Another excellent speaker at Catalyst was Jim Collins, author of Built to Last and Good to Great.  Some of his insights:

  • “Good is the enemy of great.”
  • “Greatness is not a function of the cards we’re dealt,” but of conscious choice and discipline.
  • “You will find a culture of discipline in every great enterprise.”  But you will not find it in average ones.
  • We must have the right people in the right places.
  • “You have to prepare for what you cannot possibly predict.”
  • Humility is the signature trait that separates great from good.
  • Humility brings a driving passion for the cause–not for personal gain.
  • “If it’s about you, you will not build something great.”
  • Do not build around a powerful personality.  To do so is irresponsible.  Instead, build an organization that endures.
  • Don’t just have a “to do” list.  Equally important is a “stop doing” list.
  • Ask yourself: What gets in the way?  What doesn’t produce results?  Your answers should be on a “stop doing” list.  The lack of a “stop doing” list is a lack of discipline.
  • Do not confuse values and practices.  Our values should not change; our practices must change.
  • Every generation needs to develop its own practices to express unchanging values.
  • Build a personal board of directors.
  • Build a council and use it as a mechanism of disciplined thought.
  • Ask the right questions.  What is your questions-to-answers ratio?  How can you double it?
  • Spend more time being interested and less time trying to be interesting.
  • Schedule days to turn off all the gadgets and do nothing but think.
  • Greatness is a function of the choices you make that no one else can see.
  • We pay our mentors back by mentoring others.
  • Everyone on your leadership team should be able to articulate their responsibilities without referring to their title.
  • “If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities.”
  • We cannot focus on individuals to the neglect of the mission and vision of the organization.
Published in: on October 22, 2008 at 5:22 am  Comments (1)  

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