In his previous bestseller, Built to Last, Jim Collins explored what made
great companies great and how they sustained that greatness over time.
One point kept nagging him, though — great companies have, for the most
part, always been great, while a vast majority of good companies remain
just that: good, but not great. What could merely good companies do to
become great, to turn long-term weakness into long-term supremacy?
Collins and his team of researchers used strict benchmarks to identify a
group of eleven elite companies that made the leap from good to great and
sustained that greatness for at least fifteen years. The companies that made
the list might surprise you as much as those left off (the likes of Intel, GE
and Coca Cola are nowhere to be found).
The real surprise of Good to Great isn’t so much what good companies
do to propel themselves to greatness — it’s why more companies haven’t
done the same things more often.