This book is about what separates the great companies from the good companies. The
author describes his work as a search for timeless principles – the enduring physics of
great organizations – that will remain true and relevant no matter how the world changes around us. The specific application might change (the engineering), but certain
immutable laws of organized human performance (the physics) will endure.
Good is the enemy of great. Most companies never become great. They only remain
good. Truly great companies, for the most part, have always been great. And the vast
majority of good companies remain just that – good, but not great.
The author makes some pertinent observations, based on his research:
o Larger-than-life, celebrity leaders who ride in from the outside are negatively
correlated with taking a company from good to great.
o There is no systematic pattern linking specific forms of executive compensation
to the process of going from good to great.
o Strategy per se, does not separate the good-to-great companies from the
o The good-to-great companies do not focus principally on what to do to become
great. They focus equally on what not to do and what to stop doing.
o Technology and technology-driven change have virtually nothing to do with
igniting a transformation from good to great. Technology can accelerate a
transformation, but technology cannot cause a transformation.
o Mergers and acquisitions play virtually no role in igniting a transformation from
good to great. Two big mediocre entities joined together never make one great
o The good-to-great companies pay scant attention to managing change, motivating
people, or creating alignment. Under the right conditions, the problems of
commitment, alignment, motivation, and change do not have to be dealt with
o The good-to-great companies have no name, tag line, launch event, or program to
signify their transformations. Indeed, some were unaware of the magnitude of the
transformation at the time. Only later, in retrospect, did it become clear. They
produced a truly revolutionary leap in results, but not by a revolutionary process.
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