Saturday, January 26, 2008

Good to Great

Lately, I have been trying to mix up what I read so I am not constantly immersing myself in Christian literature. "Good to Great" by Jim Collins is a book that has gotten a lot of press over the past few years, so I thought I would read it to see what I could learn.

Essentially, the book was a report of an extensive research study that was done on certain companies. The crux of the research compared similar companies where one consistently beat the market even in economic downturns while its competitor did not thrive. The research attempted to tease out why some companies did so well while their competitors did not. I thought that the book provided some interesting results from the study.

First of all, it is important to note that the book defined "great" as consistently making a lot of money. This mentality is problematic for the Church and Christianity, but I thought that the practices that led to greatness could be applicable.

Collins and his research team found that great companies had what they called "Level 5 Leaders." Surprisingly, level five leaders are not these outrageous personalities who carry the company through sheer innovation and motivation. The study found that companies who had these types of leaders experienced significant problems once these leaders left the company. Actually, level five leaders are quiet, humble people who lead simple lifestyles. They are extremely disciplined and full of integrity, and their sole mission is the improvement of the organization, not personal glorification. I think the Church would do well to look for Level 5 leaders as opposed to a pastor with a flashy personality.

Another aspect of great companies was a "culture of discipline." This culture is connected to having level five leaders. In a culture of discipline, motivation is not necessary because people understand their roles and do them consistently with excellence. Once again, the Church would do well to develop a culture of discipline in their mission of meeting the needs of the community.

All in all, it was a solid book with a lot of insights on how to improve oneself and one's community.

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