Great by Choice by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen

Great by Choice Book Cover Great by Choice
Jim Collins, Morten T. Hansen,
Business & Economics
Harper Collins
Tue Oct 11 2011
320

Review: This is a worthwhile read, similar in style to Collins’ previous books Good to Great and Built to Last. This one focuses on companies that succeed in times of great uncertainty and draws lessons from their actions. Although the research they based the book on ended in 2002, the conclusions they’ve drawn are relevant today. The book focuses on “10Xer companies” eg a company that beat their industry by 10 fold. Only 7 companies out of 20,400 companies qualified: Amgen, Biomet, Intel, Microsoft, Progressive Insurance, Southwest Airlines, and Stryker.

Key conclusions: 10Xers are very disciplined, focused on data, and stick to their plan (called a “20 mile march”); 10Xers weren’t more innovative but were iterative in their innovation approach (“fire bullets” eg see what works, “then cannonballs” eg blow it out once you know what works); 10Xers employ "productive paranoia" eg have cash reserves and are flexible in interpreting the trends in their business and industry; 10Xers operate using Specific, Methodological, and Consistent (SMaC) rules to create consistent success; and finally 10Xers had a better “Return on Luck” (ROL) because they took full advantage of luck when it occurred and had enough of a buffer to mitigate any bad luck they encountered. This book provides directional information about how to thrive in an uncertain business climate.

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life (www.ourcorporatelife.com) to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company, CNBC.com, and Monster.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

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