Book Review of Good to Great by James Collins Report

Business Concepts

The book gives advice to companies that want to be great but are average. There are several concepts that James highlights that great companies should adhere to. He therefore advices companies that desire greatness to practice certain concepts (Collins, 2001, p4). The book discusses seven business concepts in the book and in detail. The first is “Good is the enemy of great” where the company examines itself. It should move beyond doing the right thing and stop focusing on that only.

The company should ask themselves if what they are doing is simply done because it is the industrial norms. Concentrating on the good only causes a company not to achieve the great things. The second highlighted concept is “Level 5 leadership” talking of company management. In the companies that moved from being good to great, the author noticed something interesting. They had a different kind of leader who was humble, seeking excellence and practising professionalism.

He was a leader who surprisingly took the blame when things went wrong. However when things went extremely well, he would ensure others got the full credit. The third business concept the author highlights is “First Who…then what” which is necessary. The companies that desire greatness should be concerned about the quality of their staff. This aspect is more critical than the management setting their goals and strategies.

He actually refutes the claim that the people are not the company’s great asset (Wilson, 2007). The right kinds of people, according to him are the company’s asset. The author uses the bus, to bring out this argument very clearly. The right people should board the bus and the wrong people should exit. Secondly the right people have to be seated at the right place.

The company should be concerned about who they are paying the salary to. It should not be burdened with how they are paying the salaries. Furthermore, the character of the employee is more important than their qualifications. The company should concentrate on such values as integrity, work ethic and commitment. It should not concentrate at all times on the credentials and qualifications alone.

The company should endeavour to “Confront the Brutal Facts” at all times. The company should have an environment where the truth is always heard. There should be dialogue and discussions in the company among the staff and employees. Secondly, the company should know its core competency and strengths and maximise on them. The company should work towards being the best in these specific areas.

The staff in the company should have a “Culture of Discipline” consistently. The author states that the company should manage the systems in the organisations. Most companies have the tendency or practice of managing the people instead. The people should exhibit strict discipline so that they are not micro-managed. With disciplined people, excessive controls or bureaucracy will be unnecessary in the organisation.

Another concept is on “Technology as an accelerator” where the company embraces technological innovations (Chinnoch, n,d). He put forward that technology was not an agent but an accelerator for change. Finally he highlighted the concept of “The flywheel” that concerns change in momentum. He advised people on the importance of building momentum and things will happen. It is by hard work and diligence daily, not a dramatic or revolutionary change.


The concepts in the book are able to be applied in an individual’s life. A person should refuse to just perform well in his tasks or life goals. An individual in an organisation should strive to have the level 5 leadership skills. One should cultivate professionalism and humility and seek excellence in his work. A person should look at the quality of friends and colleagues he has.

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Secondly does a person himself exhibit strength of character at the work place? A person should also seek to know the truth on their core strengths. Furthermore one should learn the importance of discipline in their personal and professional life. One has to strict with his actions in order to achieve his goals. An individual may not attain a goal quickly but with small steps he can.


Chinnock, R. (n,d) Book Review: Good to Great by Jim Collins. Optimum Technologies. Retrieved from web.

Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others don’t. England: Harper Business Publishers.

Wilson, R. (2007) Good to Great Summary by Jim Collins. Retrieved from: