Book Review Good To Great Companies – Chapter 2 Summary
I find chapter two to be of interest for those in the management area, the reason I say that because it would seem that Jim Collins is saying this is what you shouldn’t do when you are at a high level position. He talks about how some of the good-to-great leaders were humble and thought of the company and not themselves. Jim Collins talks about Level 5 Management, in short is a position that blends both personal humility with strong an professional will. Or another way to put it, those good-to-great leaders were able to put their ego aside and build their companies to success.
Collins provides great examples such as Darwin Smith who took a Kimberly-Clark from death’s doorsteps to one of the most successful paper companies in just twenty years and this was with the odds against he would recall that one of the board of directors told him he was not qualified. One of most interesting things that Collins covers in this book is a simple phrase of “the meek shall inherent the Earth” because he used such descriptions as awkward shyness, reserved, quiet and pointed out that if people where foolish enough to believe such qualities they would surely lose the battle. A prime example of this was Colman Mockler who fought to keep Gillette going, while others wanted to sell. Even though he would make some serious money he choose to fight for this company and in the end he won outright and made the company even more successful after introducing two new brands of razors.
To make his point Jim Collins gave a few examples of great leaders who build up companies and after leaving completely failed outright. One of the examples he gave was Rubbermaid who was lead by Stanley Gault had made this great during the 1980s. However, because of his style of leadership and management, the company would collapse on itself because of management problems and strategic problems as well. Although I was bit surprise by one of the companies mention in this chapter because of what would happen to it in 2008, but Collins would mention Alan Wurtzel A CEO of the now defunct Circuit City. I have to say I am a bit surprise because of the fact that Circuit City would file for bankruptcy and close all the stores and even though there were many other factors of the demise of this company, it would seem that Level 5 was never achieved and thus a great company would become a bad company.
Though Collins speculated that there are very specific traits and circumstances to become a Level 5 Manager, the inconsistency of the data suggest any concrete to achieve such a status, but merely suggest that you build you way and practice various other disciples that are used for good-to-great companies and leaders.