Remembering the Lessons of “Good to Great”

I get to teach the introductory management course at The College at Southeastern. As part of the class, we read through Good to Great by Jim Collins, one of the most well-known management books of our time. Every time I read or teach through it, I am reminded of the incredibly important lessons that this book gives us. They are lessons we all need to consider, whether we are currently leading an organization or are an undergraduate student who is preparing to start their career.

If it has been a while since you read the book or if you never have read the book, here are 5 lessons that are worth remembering from Good to Great:

1. Great leaders are a combination of humility and will

Great leaders put their organization and their people before themselves. When asked about their successes, they point to others. When asked about failures, they take the blame. They are probably not well known. Many are notably not charismatic. But they are not passive. In fact, they are very strong. And their humility and will guides their organization to realize many successes.

2. People before decision-making

Before the vision. Before the strategy. Before any major decision is made. People. The Good to Great study revealed that who should precede what. If a senior leader does not put together the right team, he or she will spend an excessive amount of energy motivating and managing.

3. Do not run from reality

Reality is your friend. It helps you make the best decisions to keep the organization moving forward. Avoiding or ignoring reality will make you hold on to tactics longer than you should. Avoiding or ignoring reality will make you believe lies that might help you feel better about yourself and your organization, but will ultimately lead to its demise.

4. Be consistent

Great organizations are very disciplined. They know who they are, and they know what they need to do. And they are passionate about not deviating from either.

5. Be patient

Real success takes time. Good to Great gave us the illustration of the flywheel, where momentum is built over time, not single moment or one decision. It is a series of consistent, disciplined decisions that lead to sustained success.

These are just a few of the lessons learned from the book. If you are a ministry leader and have not read Good to Great, I recommend you do so. It will be worth your time. Its concepts apply most any organization, including most ministries.

When are Ministry Leaders Likely to Lose Focus?

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