Posted by: bevmeldrum | January 16, 2008

Going from Good to Great – Level 5 Leadership

Photo by Andrey ProkhorovOver the next couple of weeks I am focusing on the principles that are contained in Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Other’s Don’t“.

The first principle that Good to Great talks about is the importance of getting Level 5 Leaders in place at the top of an organisation. These are people who are completely committed to doing what it takes to make that organisation work.

Jim Collins defines Level 5 leaders as those who:

“… channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company. It’s not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious – but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves.”

These are people who don’t look for the glory themselves but who focus on the success of the organisation. They are very humble people crediting others with successes but taking responsibility themselves for the failures. They also have a real passion for achieving the social and financial aims of the organisation – no matter what it takes.

In Third Sector I think we have an advantage because most of our people are, at least in part, drawn to our organisation because of our social aims.

However, let us not be naive – I have certainly seen my fair share of power-hungry, selfish people in the Third Sector who are destroying organisations and the indiviudals within them because of their behaviour.

What we need to be aiming for is ensuring that our organisations are being lead by Level 5 Leaders – only that way can move from being good to great.

Do you have a person like that leading your organisation? If you are a leader, can you become a Level 5 leader?

That question is a real challenge for me as I finalise this year’s plans for my organisation’s. Can I be a Level 5 Leader or do I need to think about bringing someone else in to lead while I focus on where my strengths are?


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