Good to Great – part 2

I'm reading "Good to Great" with a bunch of friends at work and couldn't resist blogging some of my favorite quotes… (you can read part 1 HERE)

Seven of my favorite thoughts/quotes from the second half of the book:

  • The cancer of mediocrity… (I love that phrase) (p. 121)
  • Create a "stop doing list" and systematically unplug anything extraneous. (p. 124)
  • In a sense, much of this book is about creating a culture of discipline. It all starts with disciplined people. The transition begins not by trying to discipline the wrong people into the right behaviors, but by getting self-disciplined people on the bus in the first place. Next we have disciplined thought. You need the discipline to confront the brutal facts of reality, while retaining resolute faith that you can and will create a path to greatness. Most importantly, you need the discipline to persist in the search for understanding until you get your Hedgehog Concept. Finally, we have disciplined action… This order is important. The comparison companies often tried to jump right to disciplined action. But disciplined action without self-disciplined people is impossible to sustain, and disciplined action without disciplined thought is a recipe for disaster. (p. 126)
  • A great company is much more likely to die of indigestion from too much opportunity than starvation from too little. The challenge becomes not opportunity creation, but opportunity selection. It takes discipline to say, "No, thank you" to big opportunities. The fact that something is a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" is irrelevant if it doesn't fit with [your purpose]. (p. 136)
  • Do you have a "to do" list? Do you also have a "stop doing" list? Most of us lead busy but undisciplined lives. We have ever-expanding "to do" lists, trying to build momentum by doing, doing, doing — and doing more. And it rarely works. (p. 139)
  • Indeed, the real question is not, "Why greatness?" but "What work makes you feel compelled to try to create greatness?" If you have to ask the question, "Why should we try to make it great? Isn't success enough?" then you're probably in the wrong line of work. (p. 209)
  • The single biggest danger in business and life, other than outright failure, is to be successful without being resolutely clear about why you are successful in the first place. (p. 213)


  1. The best book to compliment “Good to Great” is “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham. One of the best people development books I have read in business.

  2. Good to great is an awesome book. I believe the author is Jim Collins. One of my favorite quotes is “ Bureaucracy is to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline. “ Enjoy!

  3. David, question. If we need self-disciplined people on the bus in order to go from good to great, what do we do with the people we’re discipling and reaching who aren’t self-disciplined? How do we include them? I realize that I’m jumping into a quote in the middle, but it seems that if we stick with what he says here, we will end up eliminating many of the people who need the ministry of the local church in their lives (and who need to be a part of what the local church is doing in the world in order to properly grow). Does that make any sense? I’m not sure that’s what he’s getting at with this quote – I’ll try to pick up the book to learn more.

  4. Toby –

    I apply what he is saying to the staff that leads the local church – not the members or attenders of the local church. It doesnt eliminate anyone from being part of the church, but it does eliminate people from being part of the paid staff of the church. Does that bother you or do you think that is reasonable?

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