7 Steps from Good to Great Leaders

Here are the leadership steps Jim Collins lays out at the beginning of his book, Good to Great. They are a few of the crucial steps for any organization to make the leap from good to great.

Step 1 – Level 5 Leadership

“Self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy – these leaders are a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. They are more like Lincoln and Socrates than Patton or Caesar.”¹

John C. Maxwell explains Level 5 leadership in his book The 5 Levels of Leadership, (which might be a good future read, hint hint). I’m not quite sure which version was first, the Maxwell chicken or the Collins egg. One thing I do not agree with John C. Maxwell is the amount of levels a person can move up in leadership. He is not accounting for faith, life experiences, and education. Here’s an example, Moses. He went from being a prince of Egypt, with a desire to lead the Jewish people. Then shows off his awesome leadership skills by killing a man. Then he retreats to the desert to eventually herd his father-in-law’s sheep somewhere for 40 years, before seeing the burning bush and leading the entire Jewish people to freedom. I’m thinking there’s several bumps in leadership skills going on there. Just saying.

I do love that Jim Collins and his group go deep into the research of who the real leaders are in these companies by the results they get and not by being able to draw up publicity. (I’m leaving that one alone.) Whats cool is that this does describe Moses. He was often described as the most humble man alive.²

Step 2 – Get More of the Right People on and Get Rid of the Wrong People

“We expected that good-to-great leaders would begin by setting a new vision and strategy. We found instead that they first got the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats – and then they figured out where to drive it.”³

I’m sure you’ve seen this as well, how one bad seed can really tear a whole team down. I do find this one interesting, because I always think of great leaders storming in with some amazing vision first. But developing a great team even though it can be an ongoing process, can be even harder when you have certain players halting all your efforts.

Step 3 – Keep the Faith and Face Your Current Reality

Step 4 – Just Because You’ve Been Doing Something for Years, Doesn’t Mean You Should Keep Doing It.

Step 5 – Create a Culture of Discipline

When I worked in Memphis years ago, I saw this first hand. It was created by the leadership team there. And although their communication styles sometimes created some short term turbulence, it was made up for by the culture of discipline. In the end it made my job much easier, because those whom I was in charge of understood the culture as well.

Step 6 – Don’t use Technology as a Crutch for Change

Step 7 – Keep Pushing and Building Momentum Till You See Your Breakthrough

“There was no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment. Rather, the process resembled relentlessly pushing a giant heavy flywheel in one direction, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough, and beyond. ” 4

Join me on the journey of Good to Great by joining our small Facebook group, “Leadership Book Club by Vigilant Poster Girl”, on our journey to becoming a face of change in our world.

References:

  1. Good to Great by Jim Collins Pg 12 – 13
  2. Numbers 12:3 of the Holy Bible NIV
  3. Good to Great by Jim Collins Pg 13
  4. Good to Great by Jim Collins Pg 14

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