“No matter how dramatic the end result, the good-to-great transformations never happened in one fell swoop. The process resembled relentlessly pushing a giant heavy flywheel in one direction, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough, and beyond.”
Most great companies enjoyed years of obscurity before their results compelled the world to look at them. In fact, they seemed just like any other company until a certain “transition point” saw them leave the pack behind.
The right people
Conventional wisdom has it that if you want to start and build a great company, you develop the concept to perfection and then hire the best people you can find. The benefits of this approach? If you have the right people from the beginning, they will be able to adapt to any changes in direction or strategy. You will not have to motivate them because they share the desire to achieve greatness, and therefore are already motivated. Interestingly, the great companies pay no more than the merely good; remuneration is not a big factor in motivating people when they have something larger than money to aim for.
Great companies are set apart by their reliance on the facts in making their decisions. They do not rely on management fads or heroic dreams of greatness to achieve their goals, instead engaging in continual self-assessment.
A reason for being
Great companies have a single idea or focus that guides everything they do. Such concepts may take many years to refine, but once in place can generate enormous success because they are so differentiated. Walgreens has as its self-defining concept the best, most conveniently located drugstores, with high profit per customer visit.
Using technology wisely
Technology was rarely mentioned as a major factor for success by executives in the great companies. It was never a case of “This technology will make the company,” more like “We could use this to take us further with what we are doing.” Without an opportunity-spotting culture in place, other companies chose technology for technology’s sake, but the exceptional companies only invested in cutting-edge ways of doing things when it matched up with their larger vision.
In a nutshell
Don’t be satisfied with being merely good or excellent. Discover what it takes to be great.