Two Steps From Good to Great

Jim Collins is one of my favorite thinkers and writers.  I have reopened his book Good to Great thirteen years after my initial reading.   I discovered two things.  All quotes are from his book Good to Great.

Level 5 Leadership

Thirteen years ago I was inspired by his definition and explanation of Level 5 leadership.   What surprised me is how much influence his ideas have had on my own view of leadership.   In fact, without really knowing it the standard I have been holding myself to is Level 5 leadership.   There are two core qualities possessed by the Level 5 leader.

  1. Compelling Modesty – personal humility or never wanting to become “larger-than-life heroes.  They never aspired to be put on a pedestal or become unreachable icons. They were seemingly ordinary people quietly producing extraordinary results.”
  2. Unwavering Resolve – professional will or a person with “ferocious resolve, an almost stoic determination to do whatever needs to be done to make the company great.”

While I realize I may never reach this level of leadership it remains my gold standard.

Hedgehog or Fox?

In his famous essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” Isaiah Berlin divided the world into hedgehogs and foxes, based upon an ancient Greek parable: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

Jim Collins, Good to Great

I failed to see the significance of the Hedgehog and Fox in my first reading of Good to Great.  My eyes have now been opened.  The Hedgehog is about focus and simplicity.  The Fox is about overreach and complexity.

I must become the Hedgehog.  Perhaps I will write more on this in the future.  Until then…are you the hedgehog or the fox?