The book flavor of the week for me is How the Mighty Fall – and Why some companies Never Give In by Jim Collins. Jim also wrote the (more acclaimed) Good to Great.
This is a fun and thought provoking read . . . Ostensibly written to unpack years of research about LARGE companies and their falls from greatness . . . and distill it into plain English . . . perhaps with the goal to help Leaders with early detection of signs of organizational disease . . .
Most of it boils down to a good, honest look in the mirror . . . and some self-truth-talk.
Why is it fun for me?
Perspective is everything, and it’s not too far a stretch to take every concept Jim puts out in this book and apply it on a personal and professional level . . . This stuff scales.
A prime example is Jim’s “Flywheel” analogy:
“As with most climbs to greatness, it involved sustained, cumulative effort, like turning a giant, heavy flywheel: Each push builds upon previous work, compounding the investment of effort – Days, weeks, months, and years of work – Generating momentum, from one turn to ten, from ten to a hundred, from a hundred to a thousand . . . ”
(I type slowly and am quoting from Jim’s book page 32, so have patience here :-))
- You build a successful Flywheel
- You succumb to the notion that new opportunities will sustain your success better than your primary flywheel, either because you face an impending threat or because you find other opportunities more exciting (or perhaps you’re just bored).
- You divert your creative attention to new adventures and fail to improve your primary flywheel as if your life depended on it.
- The new ventures fail outright, siphon off your best creative energy, or take longer to succeed than expected.
- You turn your creative attention back to your primary flywheel only to find it wobbling and losing momentum