ILCA Women’s Networking Group


My Book Report, by Terre Houte by Terre Houte
October 20, 2009, 3:34 pm
Filed under: 1

Our leader is a voracious reader of business, leadership, and management books. When someone joins our team, one of their first jobs is to read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. We throw around key phrases from the book as our office slang. Phrases such as “Hedge Hog Concept” or “the right seat on the bus”.  Since the 2008-09 business debacles, Jim Collins took the challenge of researching and writing the reason for some of his “Good to Great” companies’ demise. His new work, “How the Mighty FALL and Why Some Companies Never Give In”, is a short gem of a book. Its power is in its ability to explain the stages of collapse of these mighty companies in terms a layperson can understand, perhaps in hopes we will learn from their mistakes. Our leader gave us a typed excerpt of the book for us to absorb, discuss, and hang on our walls. I share it with you now. And I quote:

 “Appendix 5: What Makes for the “Right People” in Key Seats?

While the specifics regarding who would be the right people for key seats vary across organizations, our research yields six generic characteristics:

  1. THE RIGHT PEOPLE FIT WITH THE COMPANY’S CORE VALUES. Great companies build almost cult-like cultures, where those who do not share the institution’s values find themselves surrounded by antibodies and ejected like a virus. People often ask, “How do we get people to share our core values?” The answer: you don’t. You hire people who already have a predisposition to your core values, and hang onto them.
  2. THE RIGHT PEOPLE DON’T NEED TO BE TIGHTLY MANAGED. The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you might have made a hiring mistake. If you have the right people, you don’t need to spend a lot of time “motivating” or “managing” them. They’ll be productively neurotic, self-motivated and self-disciplined, compulsively driven to do the best they can because it’s simply part of their DNA.
  3. THE RIGHT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE “JOBS”; THEY HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES.  They grasp the difference between their task list and their true responsibilities. The right people can complete the statement, “I am the one person ultimately responsible for . . .”
  4. THE RIGHT PEOPLE FULFILL THEIR COMMITMENTS. In a culture of discipline, people view commitments as sacred – they do what they say, without complaint. Equally, this means that they take great care in saying what they will do, careful to never overcommit or to promise what they cannot deliver.
  5. THE RIGHT PEOPLE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT THE COMPANY AND ITS WORK. Nothing great happens without passion, and the right people display remarkable intensity.
  6. THE RIGHT PEOPLE DISPLAY “WINDOW AND MIRROR” MATURITY. When things go well, the right people point out the window, giving credit to factors other than themselves; they shine a light on other people who contributed to the success and take little credit themselves. Yet when things go awry, they do not blame circumstances or other people for setbacks and failures; they point in the mirror and say, “I’m responsible.”

I hope you find some “porch or couch time” and take a read of this book. I’m off to Vermont to join the last of the “leaf-peepers”.

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