Book: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t
Author: Jim Collins
Review by: Faruq Hunter, CEO of GeniusCorps and founder of Geeks Gone Global, which leads innovation excursions and is seeking to connect innovators in 180 countries by 2015.
In 2012, our company, GeniusCorps, was taking underprivileged young adults and trying to make them into leaders. It was a noble effort, but after reading “Good to Great” in January 2013, we realized we were trying to effect change in the wrong way.
Listening to the audio book, I could really hear the author’s passion for this one statement: “You will never be able to make great people; you can only build an environment where great people want to be.” We were so profoundly impacted by that statement that we closed down our center and began to build GeniusCorps into an organization fueled by initiatives that draw great people together.
That’s when Geeks Gone Global was born. Instead of trying to build great personnel from the ground up, we focused on discovering great people and building strong bonds between them and their initiatives, often through the power of travel. In just one year, we have connected innovators across Africa and Asia, and we’re looking to take our platform to nearly every corner of the world by 2015.
Collins, who studies what separates successful corporations from failures, cited one example that really hit me: One company took its environment so serious that executives physically threw an under-achiever out the door. I saw this as an instruction manual for creating a self-correcting system of awesomeness. We have used it to develop not only our organization but also to pick the right customers. In everything, we focus on the “who” rather than the “what”.
By classifying leaders as “level five” and so on, Collins also challenged me to rethink what I do well. Since reading the book, I’ve grown personally and learned how to delegate more by choosing better leaders and partners, which is the only way we will be able to connect innovators in 180 countries in just three years.