The business book you need to read this month: Good to Great

A "call to arms for entrepreneurs" - Momondo Group's Hugo Burge explains why Jim Collins' popular title is a must-read for business owners...

Name of business book: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap – And Others Don’t by Jim CollinsGood to Great
Recommended by: Hugo Burge, CEO of Momondo Group

What is Good to Great about?

Good to Great is a classic title that is a worthy addition to any entrepreneur’s book collection. For those reading the book for the first time, it can provide timeless advice about the conscious decision to build something exceptional and to not be satisfied with anything less.

It intersects with other schools of thought and business books, and takes you through the values and drivers of what makes companies great – it’s not only deeply inspiring, but a call to arms for all entrepreneurs. For me it has special resonance as it was a teaser and fore-runner to the work we went on to do when building our own healthy organisation, based around clarity and purpose.

I don’t usually find one book or source is make or break, but it created a spark that clicked together with other threads to help give my business energy some focus, direction and structure.

Target audience?

Good to Great is certainly appropriate for entrepreneurs but also anyone who is, or aspires to be, a leader of a team or organisation.

What’s the best bit of Good to Great?

The best bit about Good to Great is that it makes sense, the points raised are simple and doable. It can help you refocus and drive you to find a fresh perspective or approach.

For example, when we acquired travel meta-search site Momondo in 2011, we faced the challenge of bringing it and our existing Cheapflights brand together under the newly-established and energised Momondo Group proposition.

The book’s main message is that companies with a higher purpose and discipline are more likely to make the transition from good to exceptional. We embraced a journey to bottle up what it was that was important to us, and acknowledged the need to build a healthy executive team that would give us the best chance of success.

To help us do this, we brought in specialist external support to forge a shared sense of purpose, culture and objectives that would help us transform the business.

Why should business owners read Good to Great?

The book emphasises the importance of taking time to think, to challenge yourself, and to dig deeper to find ways to improve. Although it was published in 2011, it is far from passé.

The message is still powerful and resonates because entrepreneurs will always be dealing with the issues it addresses.

3 top takeaway points for start-ups:

  • 1. Allow all of your team to speak freely in order to garner the best answer (what we at Momondo Group now call ‘PUD’ – passionate, unfiltered, debate):
    “They didn’t use discussion as a sham process to let people “have their say” so that they could “buy in” to a predetermined decision. The process was more like a heated scientific debate, with people engaged in a search for the best answers.”
  • 2. A superb team is a non-negotiable building block for a great business:
    “The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake.”
  • 3. It takes hard work, sweat, tears and time to build something special:
    “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice.”

Excerpt business owners can learn from?

Effectively the book looks at the importance of purpose and how purpose, more than anything, drives you to build your dream, and ultimately something amazing – as outlined in this extract:

“When [what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be best in the world at and what drives your economic engine] come together, not only does your work move toward greatness, but so does your life. For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.

“Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquillity that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution.

“Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.”

Book name: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap – And Others Don’t
Authors: Jim Collins
Date published: July 2011
RRP: £14.95 (hardcover)
Synopsis: Exploring the characteristics that enable a business to go from ‘good’ to ‘great’, in this book Jim Collins and his team of fellow researchers share findings from their five-year study of 28 elite companies that made the leap to exceptional results. Featuring lessons and advice on leadership, discipline, technology and more, the book provides a roadmap for business owners to follow in order to be more successful, referencing the survey and business case studies.

To get inspiration from other highly-recommended business books, follow the links below:


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