Leadership and Management Book Podcast: Exploring Two Books from Jim Collins

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Jim Collins is most well-known for two books, Built to Last (written with Jerry Porras) and Good to Great. Art and I thought that two or his other works deserve attention. In this podcast we banter back and forth about two of his other books. Great by Choice (written with Morten Hansen) and How the Mighty Fall.

Listen now:

Show Notes

In what was totally unexpected (and rare), Wally admits at the open that Art was right. “Once.” I’ll take it!

Art confesses he needed help to pronounce “Oeuvre” (1:05)

Art highlights why he likes Great by Choice for our (2:45)

Wally offers that Great by Choice is one of the only books by Collins that applies to businesses of all sizes. (3:15)

Art highlights the research twist that Collins and Hansen pursued in Great by Choice. Wally suggests that Hansen is a key contributor to this book and to the research quality. (4:20)

Wally ties Tom Peters into the podcast (always a positive!) and talks about how both Collins and Peters pursue research in pursuit of insights. (6:30)

Wally goes on a bit of a rant and raises the idea of a topic you don’t just encounter every day: “Physics Envy” (8:10)

Art introduces his appreciation of the use of the explorer Amundsen in Great by Choice and Wally piles on with enthusiasm (9:40)

Art clarifies who Amundsen was and how he fits into this Great by Choice discussion. Wally describes why he thinks this is so beautifully told in the book. Art and Wally agree that this is one of the best historical comparisons we’ve encountered in a business book (11:10)

For some reason, Wally raises the idea of a Clint Eastwood movie: Heartbreak Ridge (14:26)

Wally highlights why Great by Choice is a relevant read for our world in 2020 (15:40)

Art describes the three core behaviors that characterize Great by Choice (17:15)

Art shares a capstone quote from Great by Choice (18:15)

We shift to How the Mighty Fall and Art highlights the five stages that organizations navigate on their way from greatness to obsolescence (19:30)

Wally shares an example of an organization navigating the “hubris born of success” stage (21:24)

Art highlights his experiences with organizations falling into “the undisciplined pursuit of more” and “denial of risk and peril” stages (23:15)

Wally offers: “Find the truth-tellers” (25:40)

Art suggests the phrase really is: Sometimes strategy has to eat culture for dinner (26:30)

We discuss whether it’s OK for companies to die (27:40)

Art digresses on Wally’s mention of REO Speedwagon. It turns out, Wally wasn’t referencing the 70’s rock band (30:10)

Art asks Wally which one he would advise managers to read: it’s Great by Choice with overwhelming enthusiasm! (31:07)

Wally’s summary; Great by Choice is a great business book. How the Mighty Fall…not as useful. Art oddly agrees (33:10)

Note: All Amazon links for my recommendations are affiliate links. If you follow the links and purchase a book, I receive a tiny commission.

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