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A recipe for good management – a blog by Philip King FCICM

2 March 2017

I was privileged to see and hear Jim Collins at London Excel on Tuesday at an event organised by Growth Faculty and supported by Vistage. He is, of course, famous for a series of best-selling management books: Beyond Entrepreneurship, Built to Last, Good to Great, How the Mighty Fall, and Great by Choice.

It was the first time Jim Collins has presented in the U.K. for eight years and it was inspiring to hear his insights and views on what makes a company great. What adds to his credibility is that his writings are based on serious and detailed research, and not just theoretical ramblings as is the case with too many management books.

I wanted to share with you just some of his quotes that resonated with me and I believe are worth taking away:

If you have a charismatic cause, you don’t need to be a charismatic leader 

History is the study of surprises

The right people are our most important asset

The higher the level of bureaucracy, the lower the level of discipline

Bad decisions taken with good intentions are still bad decisions

The only mistakes you can learn from are the ones you survive

We succeed at our best only when we help others succeed

Work is infinite, time is finite.

In dealing with people, be rigorous not ruthless


Two other quotes I found particularly interesting: he suggests that we should ‘… fire bullets then fire cannonballs…’, meaning that we should not waste our gunpowder without ensuring first that we are shooting at the right target, at the right range, and in the right direction.

He says also that ‘…a core value is something that you hold even if it hurts you..’ This is especially pertinent: if a value can be discarded because it is no longer convenient, then it cannot be something that you truly believe in or adhere to.

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