Is it…Innovation, Creativity, or Discipline?
If you’re like me you might have initially answered innovation or creativity. And, although these might very well be part of the mix, discipline is the #1 core value for great companies. Even in our volatile economy, innovation and creativity are not always required in the same sense that discipline is.
The Book’s Main Challenge: Thriving in Spite of Environment
Jim Collins has written several books that explore the question, what does it take to build a great company? What are the principles that distinguish great organizations from good ones? In Great by Choice, Jim uses data from publicly traded corporations to answer the question: why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? These questions are pertinent as our world is increasingly disordered. Can anyone answer what is coming next in our economy? It seems the world is moving faster and we are all trying to keep up. Some companies and leaders navigate this world well and others don’t.
Personal stories provide better understanding of concepts that can be applied to your own life. In Jim’s book you’ll look at companies that are in the same industry with similar positioning and yet you still might see two very different results. What makes this book different than Jim’s other books is that the research for companies were selected based on not just performance and stature but on environment. Jim determined that if he looks at the best companies and their leaders in volatile environments better insights might be found than in more subdued work settings.
Jim looks for “10x cases” meaning companies and leaders that beat their industry index (stock price) by at least 10 times. He then teaches by example that three core behaviors ring true: fanatic discipline, empirical creativity, and productive paranoia.
True discipline requires the independence of mind to reject pressures to conform in ways incompatible with values, performance standards, and long-term aspirations. Jim shows us that the 10x cases are able to learn from mistakes and continue living when times are tough, to eventually become great.
What does your experience tell you?