At Catalyst 2008, Good to Great author Jim Collins spoke on a topic that will not surprise you – Going from Good to Great. (He’s still working that content seven years after the book’s release, but why not, it’s good stuff!)
Here are a few of the statements that he made during his talk which I found most interesting and helpful:
– “Not all time in life is equal. If you are young in life you have a long runway ahead of you.” (The audience at Catalyst was a younger crowd.)
– “If we got better ‘whos’ we would get better ‘whats’.”
– “You have to prepare for what you cannot ultimately predict, so your most important decision is who”
– “The question is not if you are a leader or not, but if you are a level 5 leader or a level 4 leader.”
– “The signature mark of these [level 5 leaders] was humility”
– If it is about you, you will not build something great.”
Collins also talked abou the culture of discipline that truly great companies have saying that “most overnight success stories are really about 20 years in the making“. We don’t see much of the process, or usually hear about it, but this is the discipine of the flywheel – that pushing and pushing and pushing when no one sees, and no one knows that ultimately builds momentum and can lead to greatness.
One of the most interesting things that Collins discussed was the concept of “overreaching”. While it is good to push and good to strie for excellence, the momentum of the flywheel has to build up gradually. One should not try to go too fast, too quickly or they could easily ruin everything. This is the leadership sin of overreaching.
“Overreaching born of hubris is how you fall – derailing the flywheel“, said Collins. I wonder how many pastors, missionaries and church planters, who ruin their marriages, ministries and families do so as a result of overreaching.
As a motivated twenty-something with a type-A personality and a deep love for God I know I need to be careful to not overreach.
What about you? Which of these quotes stood out most to you and why? Are you in danger of overreaching?