Posted by: bevmeldrum | February 5, 2008

Going from Good to Great – The Flywheel and Achieving Breakthrough

Photo by Andrey ProkhorovThe final section of Collin’s research looks at what happens to an organisation once all of the key elements of a great organisation are in place – level 5 leadership, first who … then what, confront the brutal facts, hedgehog concept, culture of discipline and technology accelerators.

Collins identified that each organisation that went from good to great followed the same basic pattern. Breakthrough as an organisation was not immediate or sudden it came from steady progress which began to build momentum in the organisation until finally it all took off.

He uses the picture of a flywheel – being turned again and again and again gradually building up momentum until a breakthrough happens and the speed has increased well beyond the effort you put in.

As Collins puts it:

“The good-to-great companies understood a simple truth: Tremendous power exists in the fact of continued improvement and the delivery of results.”

I just find that really encouraging. That if I have all these elements in place and just keep pushing away bit by bit then momentum will begin to build and will eventually see breakthrough. That is especially encouraging at an early stage in an organisation’s life, like we are at with The Tool Factory.

The big opportunities are great and will give the flywheel a bigger push, but the small things are just as important as they too move the flywheel building momentum taking us one step nearer to breakthrough.


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