What It Takes To Be A Great Company

Inc. magazine’s June 2012 issue features a compelling article about author and leadership expert Jim Collins, who has studied leadership for 25 years and penned four best-selling books.

Two of the most powerful takeaways from the article for me are Collin’s definition of a great company:

“To be great, a company has to make a distinctive impact. I define that by a test:  If your company disappeared, would it leave a gaping hole that could not easily be filled by another enterprise on the planet? Now, that doesn’t mean the company has to be big…just that if it went away, people would feel a gaping hole, and no one could easily come in and fill it.”

The second takeaway is the list of 12 questions that Collins says leaders much grapple with if they truly want to excel.  Three of those 12 are these, the first two I tend to think don’t get asked often enough:
  • How can we increase our return on luck
  • What could kill us, and how can we protect our flanks
  • Do we have the right people on the bus and in the key seats.


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