Good to Great is an interesting book written by Jim Collins. Although the concepts contained in the book are not new, the author succeeded in reminding his readers of the precept of success and good leadership techniques. He begins the book on a startling and counterintuitive note by claiming that “Good is the enemy of Great”. On the contrary to the overall perception that great achievements are attained through evolution staring from poor to good and eventually sterling, Collins noted that this argument is the main problem that most business leaders are entangled.  Thus, the book transcends the principles of investment to encompassing optimal decision-making (Collins, 2001).

Collins bases most of his arguments on an extensive five-year study carried out in collaboration with a research team. The book defines and examines management practices evident in eleven groups of organizations, which witnessed rare transitions from ordinary to sterling performance.  An outstanding, extraordinary feature of this book is the collection of companies the author evaluated. The shocking revelations put across in the book concern absence of correlation between corporate performance and executive compensation; technology did not result in corporate transformation and little attention paid by such upward trending organizations on managing change and motivating employees.  Collins’s philosophy is summarized in one important phrase Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice...” (Collins, 2001). These findings were coined from Collins’s curiosity to find out why most companies do not make to greatness.

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1435 companies chosen for the research were classified in to two groups. One group was characterized by breakthrough to greatness, while the other failed to do the same. The results of the research revealed that good-to-great organizations were characterized by lower stock returns, followed by breakthrough resulting in cumulative returns results of trice average market over 15 years since breakthrough point. The research contained in this book exhibited five concepts as outlined below.

Level 5 Leadership

The CEOs great companies love their jobs, are endowed with humility, determination, and strong will for success. They underscore that the company does not surround them; rather, they promote training and mentoring of future leaders.

First Who…Then What

Individuals are not as important to the company as part of assets portfolio. The book postulates that it is prudent to get the right people and go ahead to organize them in appropriate positions.

Control the Brutal Facts

The greatness of an organization is attainable through being brutally honest objectively and identification of basic competencies.

Hedgehog Concept

This concept is based on an old Greek saying that a fox knows many things while hedgehog in conversant with one great thing. The companies, which tend to be like foxes, did not make to greatness. Therefore, a company with an intention of attaining greatness should identify one core competency and tear it down to simple executable plans.

Culture of Discipline

For a company to attain greatness, it must adapt disciplined mindset in the decision-making process. The culture of discipline ought to permeate to all employees from top to bottom for an organization to realize its goals.


The concepts outlined in this book show a myriad of prerequisite principles in attaining organizational goals by having the right mindsets. As a public school principal, I would be more interested in developing a culture of discipline amongst both students and members of staff as well. This does not make other concepts less important than this one. Culture of discipline can be developed in a school community by emphasizing on the importance of discipline.

Using Level 5 leadership, I will attempt to let the members of staff that the objectives of the school will always come before their own. To achieve this, I will assign duties in a way that makes the schools' objectives stay ahead of individual interests.

I will strive to ensure that the school benefit from honesty by discouraging and punishing dishonest amongst students and members of staff as well.

Although Hedgehog   concept may not be relevant to the school setting, it is as well beneficial if looked at from a level of individuals. Everyone should become a master of one concept by encouraging specialization and division of labor.

With these principles in hand, I will make my leadership duties as a public school principal easy to execute without focusing on my performance but attainment of institutions objectives as postulated Level 5 Leadership.


Collins, J. C. (2001). Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t. 

New York: Harper Business.