Let’s use one of the greatest moments of sports to tell how a company can be led to success and increase that for years.
In his book “Good to great”, Jim Collins thoroughly shows what’s different in companies that have always been on the top of the world. Despite what you can think, those are a few companies, in most cases success is just temporary, it lasts a decade or two, then the company isn’t on the top anymore.
Nowadays companies claim to be successful, even if they just had no loss; other (few) people think that “success” means increasing profits every year, for decades, without being influenced by “crisis” and “market cycles”.
How do they do that? What are the features of their leaders and their organizations?
Jim Collins found 6 common traits of successful companies (the ones which has been growing and being successful, despite everything, for decades):
- 5th level leadership
Their leaders aren’t like people can imagine that, they’re modest, discreet, almost invisible, and shy.
- First who, then what
When they choose human resources for their companies, they start from the “individual”. If they are charmed by someone’s attitude, they hire him/her, then they decide what he/she should do.
- They face harsh reality
They face troubles by making them public, but they never lose faith in success.
- Notion of hedgehog
A fox can be smart, ambush and create strategies, but when she attacks a hedgehog it cannot succeed, because the hedgehog has a powerful uniqueness: its straight quills. Same way, companies led by 5th level leaders have one strong uniqueness, they are focused on one or two goals.
- Discipline culture
It’s not about being disciplined, but spreading a “discipline culture” made by constant and continuous thoughts and actions.
- Fly-wheel and decline spiral
They know nothing happens all of a sudden. No miracle plan, no determining action, no giant leap, but a slow and incessant path to success or to decline. That path become faster as time goes by, just like a fly-wheel: once you started it, it will be hard to stop it.
We can find clips and movies for each one of those 6 elements (in our membership you can find a number of videos for a number of themes), but this clip is from “When the Games Stands Tall” (from a true story), and it describes an enterprise that fully symbolizes the philosophy of “Good to great“.
Bob Ladoucer led De La Salle football team Spartans to a historical record: 151 consecutive victories. Yes, that’s right, 151 consecutive victories, 12 years of continuous success. While watching the movie, full of interesting sparks, I can’t help but wondering how could they achieve such a goal.
The answer is at the end of the film, when quarterback Chris Ryan, who was trying to achieve his personal record, decides to lead the team to victory, paying homage to his coach who led them into history.
There are a lot of scenes about dedication, sacrifice, talent enhancing in the whole film, so team spirit, that can move mountains, is just a consequence of Collins‘ 6 elements. If you want to keep winning, work on each of them and you will be surrounded by a group of individuals who are ready to overcome egoism in order to lead the team to success after success.
Spartans lost their 152nd match, but they started to win again, leaving everyone speechless. Clearly, if you know the path, crisis can be defeated before it infects the locker room, in sports as in business.