Thursday, June 11, 2009
More often it is not important that you know all the answers. It is important that you ask the right questions. So heres a question for the recession season to some of the best minds and great leaders of our times
" how you build something great in an environment that's unpredictable, uncertain and ultimately unforgiving" ????????
To get a taste of the kind of questions we asked which are important to which the well researched Jim Collins answered ..here is a lowdown!!!!!
Some of the fallen companies you analyze, like Circuit City and Fannie Mae, are companies whose strengths you'd previously praised. What happened?
What happened in all the great companies that fell is they made a shift from a humble drive to an arrogance, the belief they somehow magically deserved all that success — "We're just really better than everybody else, and we always will be." The great irony is that leads to the undisciplined pursuit of more, and it's very hard to preserve your values and your basic model if you grow too fast.
You write about a lot of failed business leaders, but your tone is usually sympathetic — they were well-intentioned, but simply didn't get the job done. That seems out of step with the anger flowing toward corporate America these days. Are there villains in executive suites, too?
In the companies we've studied we did not find villains. I think that's very important. These were smart, well-intentioned people trying to make the right call. To me, that's even more sobering: hardworking people who are often full of tremendous imagination and energy can still bring enterprises down. I know villains are more fun to write about, but it's not what we found.
Most of your readers aren't executives running large corporations. What do your books offer ordinary workers?
I've never really seen our work as being about business. These are human questions — how do you take something mediocre and make it exceptional? Why do some people become great in a world that's full of tremendous volatility, uncertainty and rapid change? That's a human question that we happen to address by looking through business, which we can do because of the rigor of the data.
This is one of the most treacherous and unpredictable economic climates we've ever seen. Are we headed out of it any time soon?
The period of time from 1950 to 2000 was a combination of prosperity and relative stability. I think the odds are very high we regain prosperity, but very low that we regain that combination. I think our likely scenario is tremendous prosperity with tremendous ambiguity and instability. That means those who know how to manage in that environment will do very well, and those who don't may disappear.
You've studied business leaders spanning most of American history. The entrepreneur of the decade, you say, is Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp. Why?
Wendy Kopp didn't sit back and say, "How can I find something that will channel my passion?" She built something. The ultimate entrepreneurial act is creating a movement. Wendy Kopp is on a 50-year mission to transform education in this country. And she's doing it by creating an army of people who have been in classrooms, who can say, "I know firsthand what the problems are." She's demonstrating the idea that entrepreneurship is about an idea more than just an organization.
You say one key to being successful today is developing "a ferocious understanding of what you're not going to do." What do you mean?
As I got into my research, I saw that those who were really effective made use of not just a "to-do" list but a "stop-doing" list. I set up a time almost every day where I turn off my cell phone and do not get on [the Internet]. It's a pocket of quietude. I also leave white space on my calendar, roughly three days every two weeks. Nothing can be scheduled during white-space time. I try to create bubbles of tranquil time for hard thinking.
a TIME.com CNN extract
Be it New GM, Obama's taxation plan for outsourcing jobs from Buffalo to Bangalore or Pepsi's revamping effort as a health food company..It is time for some hard thinking !
Lets Build which lasts and not come last. As Gen X we need to leave a lasting legacy to the Gen Y and Gen Z.