Great by Choice. Uncertainty, chaos and luck - Why some thrive despite them all

from Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen

HarperCollins, New York

ISBN: 978-0-06-212099-1


Jim Collins, the author of "From Good to Great", conducted a new study together with his research fellow Morten T. Hansen. They focussed on the question, what does it take for a company to develop positively, while other companies stumble in times of great uncertainty and chaos.


There are a couple of findings, which deem rather counter-intuitive at first sight: The thriving companies actually overall changed less as a reaction to radical changes in the outside world as compared to their less successful peers. They rather had adopted the skill to stick to those components of their business models, which are essential, and only change certain elements over time. It also turned out that the leaders of the successful companies were neither more risk taking, nor more visionary or more creative in contrast to their comparison companies. Much to the contrary, the successful organizations achieved leading performance due to a unique mix of discipline (in sticking to their business model and in execution), empirical foundation (in analyzing trends and results of own business actions) and a rather paranoid view on the business environment and their own strategic actions. 


With this book Jim Collins continues the learning journey which started with "From Good to Great" and grew with "Built to Last" and "How the Mighty Fall". This time the focus of the research question was on success factors in very challenging business environments.The study also took a look at the factor of luck in business and showed that the winners are usually not more lucky than the less successful players, but they are more disciplined in fully and excellently taking advantage of the lucky circumstances in the market.


This book is an enjoyful reading as the authors are able to present the key conclusions out of the massive data set of the study in an easy-to-understand framework using very illustrative examples.


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