Fallen Angels

In Jim Collins’ book, “How the Mighty Fall,” research points out how institutional fallout is much like a disease:  harder to detect, yet easier to cure in its earlier stages, but easier to detect and harder to cure in its later stages.  As every institution is susceptible (everyone is “fallen”), the five key stages of death are: 1) strong success & momentum, 2) an undisciplined pursuit of more, straying from one’s core mission and values, 3) denial and excuse in the face of downturn, 4) grasping for a silver bullet either through initiatives or hiring “saviors,” 5) insignificance or death.

As Collins unveiled these God-ordained, world-ingrained patterns within organizations (you can notice such a pattern in human behavior and within biblical history as pointed out by Proverbs), it was also a good reminder of his past principles from Good to Great.  Here they are for review:

How do you know you have hired the right person?:

  • They fit with the company’s core values.
  • They don’t need to be tightly managed.
  • They prefer responsibilities over “jobs.”
  • They fulfill their commitments
  • They are passionate about the company and their role.
  • They praise others during success and take the blame during failure.

As for Jim’s famous, “Good to Great Framework,” here are the keys:

  • Senior leaders who bring humility and deep, tenacious ambition.
  • Attain the right people first, then the strategy. (Though I don’t always agree w/ this one.)
  • Ability to confront brutal facts with high optimism.
  • Small, steady successes within the framework of one’s mission, passions, and resources.
  • A disciplined workforce & leadership team sticking to the mission, not seeking a “silver bullet.”
  • A relentless drive for change, while remaining pure to the core principles and mission.

So, in the words of Jack White and The Raconteurs, “Steady as she goes!”


~ by Dave Smith on March 7, 2010.

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