Great by Choice
By Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen
Price: Rs 799
In an environment where the legend of Steve Jobs makes us believe everything he touched turned to gold instantaneously, it is interesting to read that when Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 after a dozen years in the wilderness, he first instilled discipline in finances and operations and got people focused on the ethic of "work all day and all of the night", with the firm belief that discipline was a prerequisite for creativity! Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen write that Jobs "made the most of the Big Thing he already had" rather than immediately look for the Next Big Thing. The launch of PowerBooks and iMacs in this period of four years before the advent of the carefully researched iPod and iTunes is used by the authors to make the point that big successes are often the result of a "multi-step iterative process based more upon empirical validation than visionary genius".
ALSO READ: Nokia India chairman reviews Steve Jobs biography
The beauty of this book is its ability to make these telling points. In times like these when leadership has to suffer the daily onslaught of critics carried away by hubris about competition, as well as dark economic predictions, the book has many doses of researched strategy wisdom that are well worth reflecting on. The '10X' - the authors' label for 'exceptional' - cases Collins and Hansen have detailed, where companies have risen from initial positions of vulnerability in potentially harmful environments to sustain exceptional results for 15-plus years hold lessons for the corporate sector across the world. Dispelling myths about innovation holding the key to spectacular success and successful leaders being bold, risk seeking visionaries, the authors warn against radical change and excessive speed in decision making and suggest that it is not luck that makes 10X companies different but what they do with the luck that comes their way.