Good to Great Leaders: Jim Collins (EntreLeadership Summit. Dallas, TX)

There is a common misperception about the research of Jim Collins. He actually does not study success… Jim’s team is excellent at discovering the differences BETWEEN success and failure. His work is all about identifying the CONTRAST between companies that face the same circumstances at the same time.

Collins also confronted another common misconception; this time the misconception was about leaders. Jim said that the majority of leaders DON’T BEGIN as great leaders… sure there are some small exceptions where it seems that an individual just has a natural knack for leadership. However, the good news, for the rest of us, is that the majority of GREAT leaders grew to become the best.

Why, then, can some leaders learn to survive in the exact same difficult environment and circumstances while other leaders perish? What is different? It turns out that he found that there are three behavioral leadership differences:

  1. Fanatic Discipline
  2. Imperial Creativity
  3. Productive Paranoia

In addition to the behavioral traits above, Jim Collins also found that there are two identifying personal traits of great leaders.

  1. HUMILITY – a genuine deep streak of humility. Not for themselves. It was not about them…
  2. DEEP WILL – it was about the cause and purpose that was far beyond the leader or the company.

The size of the organization is NOT a contributing factor. Jim Collins amazed our audience by saying that… Big does NOT equal GREAT. Great does NOT equal big.

So then, what does it take for you to become… YOU 2.0 (in my case, Kyle Malnati 2.0). The answer… PEOPLE.

You must have incredible discipline to study and identify the KEY seats on your BUS. 90-95% of your key seats must be filled with the right people.

Chronic inconsistency is LETHAL to your business and to your life.

Collins encouraged us to build a team culture where success only occurs when we ALL succeed together. You are NEVER alone.

Collins finished with an amazing story… about his wife.

His wife, Joanne Ernst, is an accomplished triathlete won the 1985 Hawaii Ironman. (She may be best known for her appearance in a Nike ad that same year saying, “And by the way, stop eating like such a pig.”)

When Joanne won the Ironman, she was 10-minutes ahead in the last leg of the marathon. Then her body started to break down to the point that she had to beat on her legs to remove the lactic acid. The runner in 2nd place was gaining on her.

Joanne was losing her lead at the pace of 1-minute per mile. She eventually won by a differential of just 90 seconds after holding a 10-minute lead.

After training for years, Joanne had accomplished an incredible accomplishment. However, she was not happy after winning. She felt empty. Joanne realized that this was a personal accomplishment, and that she really couldn’t share in the victory with anyone else.

After winning the Ironman, Jim and Joanne came back to their hometown of Boulder. Joanne was hired as a high school track coach. Her teams have won multiple state championships with NO STARS.

How to win without stars? She gives this message to her teams.

“You are NOT running for you. You are running for your teammates. You do not get to let go. You do not get to give up. You are running for them. You are not running for you.” ~ After all of her personal accomplishments, she has finally found something that makes her happy and gives her meaning… coaching others.

Jim ended his presentation with a final question… how will you change the lives of others? How will some people’s lives be better? How will some people’s lives be different, because you walked around on this planet. It doesn’t have to a lot of people, but it does have to be real people. Life is people.

This blog post was written while I’m attending the EntreLeadership Summit in Dallas, TX. The EntreLeadership Summit is a blockbuster business conference with nationally acclaimed speakers, such as, Seth Godin, Jim Collins, Patrick LencioniDave Ramsey, AND past US President, George W. Bush~Kyle Malnati


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Madison Commercial at EntreLeadership 1-Day

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