How the Mighty Fall

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How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give InHow The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In by Jim Collins

Another great read from Jim Collins. In this short read, Collins starts with a basic question: How do great companies lose it? Are there common signs to indicate a company–once considered high performing–is now in decline? If so, what are they? And when is it too late to stop the downward slide?

It’s a fascinating little read, actually, containing nuggets for all of us. Collins identifies 5 stages that precede a fall: 1) Hubris Born of Success 2) Undisciplined Pursuit of More 3) Denial of Risk and Peril 4) Grasping for Salvation and 5) Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death. The titles alone read like a great novel, don’t they? And there’s plenty of drama in this little book to back up that feeling. In his storytelling style, Collins breaks down the numbers to show us what they look like in real companies, but Collins is ultimately optimistic. He believes and demonstrates that it is possible for companies who are on the path of decline to reverse that process. Smart companies may fail miserably at times, but a little humility and a lot of reality can go a long way to fixing things.

In this book, as in Good to Great, I was struck by some very basic age-old wisdom that Collins continues to unearth: Treat others the way you wish to be treated. Honor other people just as you would honor yourself. Don’t think too highly of yourself. Be brutally honest about the facts and deal with reality. Find, recognize, and use the gifts of those around you. There are principles of wisdom here for anyone in just about any enterprise. A worthy read…

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© 2010 L. Kay Johnson, L is for LaNita. All rights reserved.

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