Collins - How the Mighty Fall

Jim Collin's new book "How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In" asks, "How do great companies fall? Can the decline be detected and avoided? How far can a company fall before doom becomes inevitable and unshakable? How can businesses reverse course?" Well his answers are straight forward and insightful, as so often Collins is.

Collins confronts these questions, offering hope that leaders can learn how to stave off decline and, if they find themselves falling, reverse their course. His research project requied more than four years and uncovered five stages of decline:

Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success

Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More

Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril

Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation

Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

Decline, Collins concludes, is largely self-inflicted, and the path to recovery lies largely in each companies own hands. We are not controlled by circumstances, history, or defeats along the way.

What is most notable about the book is the meaning of the tag line: "And Why Some Companies Never Give In". For many never giving in means holding on to the status quo. Instead Collins urges leadership to be willing to kill failed business ideas even shuttering long time big operations; to evolve into entirely different activities a part from present operations; to be willing to embrace loss and temporarily lose freedoms; to be willing to form alliances with former adversaries. “Never give in” is not continuing the same things. It means identifying that success is falling down and getting up one more time without end. Businesses must be willing to change in a disciplined fashion in order to survive, and there are many examples in this excellent book.

Check out Collin's video below as he outlines the five stages to decline identified in the book.

Jim Collins - We're all Headed Into The Storm

A recent article in Inc Magazine, "How to Thrive in 2009" featured Jim Collins, author of Good to Great. His analysis of where we are all headed as organizations is poignant. Here is an excerpt on the coming wave of unforseen challenges all organizations will face:

"Most people are in the comfort of base camp, and they can go on doing what they're doing even if there is a big storm. But the people who wake up high on that mountain in a howling storm are in grave danger, like the technology people after the bubble burst. It hit me that we're all heading up there, whether we like it or not. We're heading into a world characterized by big events, big forces, massive storms. We're going to be vulnerable little specks high on the mountain when the storm hits out of nowhere. And if we're not prepared, we're going to die up there. Or we're going to be in real serious trouble.

Here are his views on a new paradigm of leadership:

"Business owners and chief executives have had a tremendous amount of concentrated power. They don't really have to lead. If I put a gun to your head, I can get you to do a lot of things. It means I have power. It doesn't mean I've led. In business, we largely have power, not leadership. In a social-sector organization, power is diffuse. So, getting things done requires the ability to truly lead. If you want to create a movement, you can't order it or demand it or will it into existence by exerting concentrated power. It just won't work." Yes leadership.

Welcome to the revolution where true vision, understanding and leadership are a requirement; not a luxury.