Jim Collins – How the Mighty Fall, Day 1

I recently started reading How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins. Dave Ramsey, our CEO, was given an article by my boss, Bill Hampton, that summarized How the Mighty Fall. Dave, being the driven and forward thinking guy that he is, went out and picked up the book. Recently, I found out that he’s going through the book with some trusted friends. Several years ago, Dave purchase another of Jim’s books, Good to Great, and covered it with his team leaders. It was a great book, and greatly added to my development as a professional.

As I began reading How the Mighty Fall before going to bed, I’ve found the book to be well written and very thought provoking. As such, I’ve decided to blog about my journey through the book in hopes to aid other leaders trying to make the most of their opportunities and carry their companies through these tough economic times.

If you’ve read one of Jim Collins’ other books, Built to Last and Good to Great, you know that Jim’s approach is to conduct tons of thorough research that supports his conclusions and writing. How the Mighty Fall follows this same approach using the data from his other books but with a twist. Instead of using the data to support the decisions and approaches that turn good companies into great companies, Jim flips the data and shows us how companies descended from good stable or perhaps great companies to irrelevancy or death. Circuit City is one of those examples.

One of the early statements from How the Mighty Fall goes something like this: While Good to Great shows that great companies usually follow the same track to success, companies that descended to irrelevancy have followed any number of routes. 1 general path to success. Numerous paths to decline or failure.

Unlike Good to Great where Jim walks you through the data and takes you on a journey of success to validate his level 5 leadership formula for a companies success, How the Mighty Fall introduces the 5 Stages of Decline on page 25. While How the Mighty Fall is a short read, the anchor statement of the book is delivered very early in the read. Since I am only on page 33, I expect the rest of Jim’s material to validate the 5 stages while letting us look into companies that have taken the fall from success.

The 5 Stages of Decline

  1. Hubris Born of Success
  2. Undisciplined Pursuite of More
  3. Denial of Risk and Peril
  4. Grasping for Salvation
  5. Capitulation to Irrelevance and Death

If you just can’t wait for my review, check out Amazon.com reviews.

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