Jim Collins – Good to Great

Jim Collins

Jim Collins – Good to Great – Contents

  • Jim Collins Biography
  • Jim Collins’ Big Idea: Good to Great
  • Interesting Facts and Insights about Jim Collins
  • Career Advice Quotes by Jim Collins
  • Business Advice Quotes by Jim Collins
  • Leadership and Management Advice Quotes by Jim Collins
  • Jim Collins Inspirational Quotes
  • Books by Jim Collins
  • Articles by Jim Collins
  • Questions about Jim Collins
  • Videos about Jim Collins

Jim Collins Biography

James C. “Jim” Collins is an author, consultant, and lecturer on the subject of business management and company sustainability and growth. In his “Good to Great” book, Collins’ BIG IDEA was in identifying the factors common to those few companies which achieve success for a substantial period. In the book, which was published in 2001, Collins describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies and how most companies fail to make the transition.

James C. “Jim” Collins’ books have gained significant positions on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-seller lists. His books have sold in the millions, and they have been translated into 32 languages.


Jim Collins’ Big Idea: Good to Great

Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how most companies fail to make the transition. “Greatness” is defined as financial performance several multiples better than the market average over a sustained period.

Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. Collins identified seven characteristics of companies that went from “Good to Great:”

  • Level 5 Leadership: Leaders are humble but driven to do what’s best for the company.
  • First Who, Then What: Get the right people on the bus, then figure out where to go.
  • Confront the Brutal Facts: Confront the brutal truth of the situation, yet at the same time, never give up hope.
  • Hedgehog Concept: The intersection of three circles: 1) what you are deeply passionate about, 2) what you can be the best in the world at, and 3) what best drives your economic or resource engine.
  • Culture of Discipline: A disciplined organizational culture nurtures people who engage in disciplined thought and who take disciplined action.
  • Technology Accelerators: Using technology to accelerate growth.
  • The Flywheel: The additive and compound effect of many small initiatives.

“Good to Great” is about how to turn a good organization into one that produces sustained great results. Collins’ book “Built to Last” is about how to take a company with great results and turn it into an enduring great company of iconic stature.”


Interesting Facts and Insights about Jim Collins

  • Born: James C. “Jim” Collins was born in 1958 in Aurora, Colorado.
  • Stanford: Collins received a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences at Stanford University.
  • MBA: Collins obtained his M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  • McKinsey: Collins worked as a consultant with McKinsey & Company for 18 months.
  • H.P.: Jim Collins then worked as a product manager for Hewlett-Packard.
  • Teaching: Collins began his teaching career on the faculty at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
  • Author: Collins has authored or co-authored six books based on his research.
  • Best Seller: Collins’ books have been best-sellers on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week lists.
  • International: His books have sold in the millions, and they have been translated into 32 languages.
  • Contributor: Collins frequently contributes to Harvard Business Review, Business Week, Fortune, and other publications.
  • Speaker: Jim Collins has been a much sought after public speaker.
  • Married: Collins is married to former triathlete and 1985 Ironman World Championship winner, Joanne Ernst.
  • Nationality: Jim Collins is an American national.

“The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake.”

– Jim Collins

Career Advice Quotes by Jim Collins

“Don’t be interesting – be interested.”

“Resiliency, not perfection, is the signature of greatness.”

“If you have more than three priorities then you don’t have any.”

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

“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.”

“The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.”

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

“Change your practices without abandoning your core values.”

“Don’t take care of your career. Take care of your people. They will take care of your career.”

“You absolutely cannot make a series of good decisions without first confronting the brutal facts.”

“Visionary companies pursue a cluster of objectives, of which making money is only one—and not necessarily the primary one.”

“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.”

“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.”

“You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time, have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”


Business Advice Quotes by Jim Collins

“Get the right people on the bus and in the right seat.”

“In a world of constant change, the fundamentals are more important than ever.”

“A great company will have many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.”

“Creativity dies in an indisciplined environment.”

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

“Focusing solely on what you can potentially do better than any other organization is the only path to greatness.”

“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. ”

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

“Genius of AND. Embrace both extremes on a number of dimensions at the same time. Instead of choosing a OR B, figure out how to have A AND B-purpose AND profit, continuity AND change, freedom AND responsibility, etc.”

“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.”


Leadership and Management Advice Quotes by Jim Collins

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”

“The purpose of bureaucracy is to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline.”

“Not one of the good-to-great companies focused obsessively on growth.”

“The only way to deliver to the people who are achieving is to not burden them with the people who are not achieving.”

“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 signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change. The signature of mediocrity is inconsistency.”

“Companies that change best over time know first and foremost what should not change.”

“The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.”

“Level 5 leaders are a study in duality: modest and willful, humble and fearless.”

“I don’t know where we should take this company, but I do know that if I start with the right people, ask them the right questions, and engage them in vigorous debate, we will find a way to make this company great.”

“Consider the idea that charisma can be as much a liability as an asset. Your strength of personality can sow the seeds of problems when people filter the brutal facts from you.”

“Level 5 leaders are differentiated from other levels of leaders in that they have a wonderful blend of personal humility combined with an extraordinary professional will. Understand that they are very ambitious; but their ambition, first and foremost, is for the company’s success.”


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Jim Collins Inspirational Quotes

“Whether you prevail or fail depends more on what you do to yourself than on what the world does to you.”

“People are not your most important asset….the right people are.”

“The difference between a good leader and a great leader is humility.”

“Managing your problems can only make you good, whereas building your opportunities is the only way to become great.”

“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.”

“Comparison, a great teacher once told me, is the cardinal sin of modern life. It traps us in a game that we can’t win. Once we define ourselves in terms of others, we lose the freedom to shape our own lives.”

“Dreams make you click, juice you, turn you on, excite the living daylights out of you. You cannot wait to get out of bed to continue pursuing your dream. The kind of dream I’m talking about gives meaning to your life. it is the ultimate motivator.”


Books by Jim Collins

  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, by James C. Collins, 2001
  • Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras, 1998
  • Great by Choice, by James C. Collins and Morten Hansen, 2011
  • How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, by James C. Collins, 2009
  • Turning the Flywheel: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great, by James C. Collins, 2019
  • Beyond Entrepreneurship: Turning Your Business Into an Enduring Great Company, by James C. Collins, 1992
  • Turning Goals Into Results (Harvard Business Review Classics): The Power of Catalytic Mechanisms, by James C. Collins, 1999
  • Managing the Small to Mid-sized Company: Concepts and Cases, by James C. Collins, 1995
  • Architectures of Excess: Cultural Life in the Information Age, by James C. Collins, 1995

Articles by Jim Collins

  • The 10 Greatest CEOs of All Time by Jim Collins, Fortune, 2003
  • Good to Great, by Jim Collins, FastCompany, 2001
  • How to Manage Through Chaos, by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen, Fortune, 2011
  • How the Mighty Fall, A primer on the Warning Signs, by Jim Collins, Businessweek, 2009
  • Best New Year’s Resolutions? A ‘Stop Doing’ List, by Jim Collins, USA Today, 2003

Questions about Jim Collins?


Building a visionary company requires one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.

– Jim Collins

BIG IDEAS:

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Videos about Jim Collins

Jim Collins: From Good to Great, – Nordic Business Forum

Jim Collins’s Top 10 Rules For Success


“Resiliency, not perfection, is the signature of greatness.”

– Jim Collins

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