It’s a bit of rambling friday post about the book Good to Great which I have been listening to.
I read the blog of Mike Ames who is a business development coach and he recently had a very interesting guest blog post
This blog post echo’s many of the sentiments and principles in the audiobook I have been listening to on my commute to work
The book compares lots of companies to see why some companies went from being good to great and what they did to achieve this.
The book states the seven characteristics which I have copied from wiki
Seven characteristics of companies that went “from good to great”
- Level 5 Leadership: Leaders who are humble, but driven to do what’s best for the company.
- First Who, Then What: Get the right people on the bus, then figure out where to go. Finding the right people and trying them out in different positions.
- Confront the Brutal Facts: The Stockdale paradox – Confront the brutal truth of the situation, yet at the same time, never give up hope.
- Hedgehog Concept: Three overlapping circles: What lights your fire (“passion”)? What could you be best in the world at (“best at”) What makes you money (“driving resource”)?
- Culture of Discipline: Rinsing the cottage cheese.
- Technology Accelerators: Using technology to accelerate growth, within the three circles of the hedgehog concept.
- The Flywheel: The additive effect of many small initiatives; they act on each other like compound interest.
I was quite interested with these two factors
First Who, Then What: Get the right people on the bus, then figure out where to go. Finding the right people and trying them out in different positions.
Hiring the right people is so vital. When I think all the problems bad workers have caused companies that I have worked at. The companies have set rules to manage the one or two bad employees (strict working hours for everyone because one person kept coming in late).
Bad employees often need extra management and one to one focus. It seems slightly crazy when if anyone should be given extra focus it should be your best staff.
The audio book makes the point that the great companies hired the best people and then decide where the company is going.
This fits with my ideas because people’s current experience and technical knowledge might not be useful in their next project or you might need to learn some new skills and next year everything is in the cloud or wherever and you need different skills.
I can compare this to CRM, a new release of CRM means you have to learn new features maybe a new mobile application. A lot of people learnt Silverlight and then in the future we might all be using HTML 5
The important point is good people will learn these new skills and tackle the new challenges where as not so capable people tend to fear change and drag their feet.
Basically you can learn any technology or skill but you can’t learn personality, drive and attitude.
Hedgehog Concept: Three overlapping circles: What lights your fire (“passion”)? What could you be best in the world at (“best at”) What makes you money (“driving resource”)
If you go to one of Mikes seminars he often gets people to assess what they goals are, I think of it like this
- Stop, sit down, think
- What are you goals
- create a Plan to achieve those goal
- Carry out the plan and work hard
- don’t forget to stop and reassess at some point
A lot of companies haven’t got a hedgehog concept, they haven’t narrowed down what they really good at.
Some IT companies will take all IT Projects thrown there way and then have to create a small silo of people to deliver the project (usually involving them learning some new technology skills very quickly indeed). Then to support the project the company is reliant on the team, making things like holidays a tricky situation because no one can fill in.
Without focusing on a particularly sector or technology then why would a potential customer purchase a solution from that company when compared to another company who specialised in that technology and sector.
If you don’t specialise then you will keep coming up against companies who do specialise and offer compelling reason to do the project with them.
Whilst thinking about the book it’s interesting that I can apply these rules to myself. What is my hedgehog principle, what am I good at.
Before I started focusing on CRM, I had done lots of different roles and used lots of different technologies but didn’t really focus on any particular role or technology. Although this is useful in some ways to me now, a few years ago I decided that I wanted to focus on CRM.
I had my goal – to become a CRM expert
I created a plan and then started learning, blogging, reading, writing, eating and sleeping CRM.