The third book in my challenge was recommended to me by Bob Coppedge. Bob is the CEO and founder of Simplex-IT, an IT consulting firm in Hudson, Ohio.

Title: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t

Author: Jim Collins

A long time ago in a job not so far away, I was a struggling IT employee in an Operations department that didn’t seem to want me. It was at this time that I noticed all of the company associates from the manager level on up had the same book on their desk: Jim Collins’ Good to Great. Intrigued, and most likely hoping to win some brownie points with the boss, I picked up my own copy and read my first ever business related book.

I finished the book. My job was finished not much later as I was let go. Both the book and the firing were good for me, however, as I moved on to much better opportunities and I began to implement the core concepts Good to Great espouses of companies which made the transition from a good company that met the status quo to a great company that earned well above the average and became both industry and business leaders.

Some of the concepts which I’ve taken to heart:

  • The Level 5 Leader – As Jim Collins writes on his website, “Level 5 leaders display a powerful mixture of personal humility and indomitable will. They’re incredibly ambitious, but their ambition is first and foremost for the cause, for the organization and its purpose, not themselves. While Level 5 leaders can come in many personality packages, they are often self-effacing, quiet, reserved, and even shy. Every good-to-great transition in our research began with a Level 5 leader who motivated the enterprise more with inspired standards than inspiring personality.” I strive to become a Level 5 leader every day.
  • First Who, Then What – The concept of hiring the right people, getting them on the right bus, and then putting them in the right seat before determining where to drive the bus. I work to be that right person in the right seat on the bus I’m currently riding, especially now that I am in an executive role.
  • The Hedgehog Concept – Foxes are always looking at new strategies in order to catch the hedgehog. The Hedgehog, however, has one simple strategy: Focus on one big thing. That big thing for a company is their Hedgehog Concept.

I am reading many more business related books these days, but Good to Great was the quintessential book that started me on that path and has had the largest effect on my personal and professional life. I highly recommend this book regardless of your career as it has concepts you’ll want to apply to improve yourself and your business.

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