Good to Great

My favorite non-Christian book is a business book – "Good to Great." I think so much of what the author says about companies can apply to churches. I just finished reading it for a third time since much of the staff is reading it for the first time and we will be discussing it Wednesday over lunch.

Seven of my favorite thoughts/quotes from the first 100 pages (I tried to limit it to five, but I just couldn't do it):

  • Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good – and that is their main problem. (p. 1)
  • The good-to-great companies did not focus principally on what to do to become great; they focused on what not to do and what to stop doing. (p. 11)
  • The good-to-great companies paid scant attention to managing change, motivating people, or creating alignment. Under the right conditions, the problems of commitment, alignment, motivation, and change largely melt away. (p. 11)
  • We've extracted three practical disciplines from the research for being rigorous rather than ruthless. PRACTICAL DISCIPLINE #1: When in doubt, don't hire – keep looking; PRACTICAL DISCIPLINE #2: When you know you need to make a people change, act; PRACTICAL DISCIPLINE #3: Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems. (pp. 54-60)
  • Indeed, one of the crucial elements in taking a company from good to great is somewhat paradoxical. You need executives, on the one hand, who argue and debate – sometimes violently – in pursuit of the best answers, yet, on the other hand, who unify fully behind a decision, regardless of parochial interests. (p. 60)
  • Members of the good-to-great teams tended to become and remain friends for life… The people we interviewed from the good-to-great companies clearly loved what they did, largely because they loved who they did it with. (p. 62)
  • THE STOCKDALE PRINCIPLE: "This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be." (p. 85)

Good to great

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