Leadership Today
Reflections from Good to Great and Beyond Great, part 2

Definitions for Success

When the Good to Great team had identified their set of “great” companies via a rigid set of diagnostics, they dug in to find key differentiators that propelled companies ahead of their competition—similar organizations in the same industries. Several key areas emerged as truly important. Collins and his team homed in on those that seemed to be common threads among the great performers. Their book illuminates the findings in areas such as:
  • Leadership
  • Team composition
  • Capacity to confront facts, even “brutal” facts
  • Adhering to a central focus—a Hedgehog Concept
  • Wisely using technology accelerators
The companies featured as “great” in Collins’ book could be the envy of many business leaders. They set the stage for us to ask key questions:
  • What is a “good” company? 
  • What is great in the context of a company? 
  • Why desire to strive “Beyond Great”? 
  • What exactly do we mean by “Beyond Great”?
We will keep the definitions of these concepts straightforward.
Good—this is okay performance. 
Truthfully, for some companies in recent years, goodness has simply been the capacity to survive in very difficult times. In the most simple of definitions, we would say that a “good” company is profitable, and, if not growing, certainly stable.
Great—this involves significantly better financial performance than a good company. 
For companies to make the cut in Collins’ book, financial performance had to be head and shoulders above their competitors. Collins laid out the performance of the “comparison” companies side-by-side with the performance of the great corporations.
Beyond Great—this would have to take a company to some still higher reach.
To do that, we have to consider more than money. It cannot be as simple as financial success. What we want to do is add an eternal implication—economic success coupled to enduring impact.  
Beyond Great organizations achieve impact that exceeds the “bottom line” – i.e. the companies succeed, but also the people of the enterprise, their families, the community and God’s world benefit from their work and success. 
Thank you for your interest. We will continue the discussion next time.
Larry Meeker
President, Advanced Team Concepts
Reflections from Good to Great and Beyond Great, part 1

Striving for Success

Every owner and stockholder wants his or her company to succeed, right? We want to work in a good company. Most of us would like it to be a greatcompany if possible. Who would not? 
Business leaders, the CEO’s and executives, all want to see their companies rise in stature and success. This may be rooted in a range of motivations. It can vary from:
 A personal connection between performance and compensation—the more successful the company, the higher the executive pay.
A passion for the mission of the company. 
Success rests to a large extent on financial performance, especially in the “for-profit” world. It may have different measures and elements of emphasis, but the bottom line is important. 
Non-profit organizations may look more to mission specific measures, but even they must pay attention to the financials if they are to remain in business.
In addition to the “bottom-line,” groups measure quality, customer satisfaction, market share, employee satisfaction and many other metrics. Tools such as balance scorecards are sometimes used to provide a well rounded accounting of how the company is really doing. Even so, none of this attention seems to dilute emphasis on financial profit and growth.
Jim Collins and his research team have done some interesting analysis of “great” organizations. The resulting book by Collins’ and team is Good to Great.  It highlights important characteristics essential for a company to become truly great.  Their research is based on actual financial performance and sustained success, objective measures that CEO’s relate to. The book is very popular. The data cannot be easily dismissed, nor would we want to. In our discussion, we want to learn from it…and more.
We will look at some of the basis of that analysis next time. We will also examine reflections from this author's book, Beyond Great.  From the two books we will be able to pull some key lessons and principles.


Larry Meeker
President, Advanced Team Concepts

Diversity , Understanding Differences
6/3/2010 6:52:29 AM Link 1 comment | Add comment


For my third entry on diversity, I want to address the importance of understanding differences in the workplace. Individual personalities are complex and certainly diverse, and these differences can have a tremendous impact within an organization. I’m talking specifically about behavior and communication styles. 

Think about how these differences impact our actions. They affect the way we view and act in relationships, the way we learn, the way we communicate. They even influence our choice of career. 
Within the workplace, our differences can impact:
  • Communicating
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Handling conflict
  • Planning and setting goals
  • Managing and/or implementing change
  • Dealing with stress
  • Building a team
  • Leading a team
The list goes on. Each of these elements can be impacted positively or negatively, depending on our level of awareness concerning the differences and how we deal with them. For example, an organization could be crippled by an inability to effectively handle conflict. But the same organization, with a process in place for managing conflict and reaching consensus, could use the same diversity to come up with a huge range of ideas, plans or solutions.
When dealing with differences in the workplace:
  • Show a genuine interest in others- ask them questions and learn about their preferences
  • Respect other’s rights to be different - you can respect without agreeing
  • Reserve judgment – make sure you don’t stereotype
  • Don’t be intimidated by or afraid of differences
Many of us have participated in “personality” or “behavioral” assessments in the workplace. In fact, ATC regularly uses these assessments with our customers. These tools, when properly administered, can be valuable in helping identify the behavioral preferences or styles that make up a work team. Additionally, when teams invest in learning more about behavioral diversity, they can better interact with coworkers, partners and customers.
Imagine your team as a jigsaw puzzle. Some team members are curved, some jagged, some turned inward, some outward. Each brings different qualities and different contributions. Ideally, each are working to fit in and working toward the team’s goals. What a great analogy for the power of diversity! We’re all different, but we’re all needed to complete the picture. 

Many thanks for your interest,

 Angela Gallogly, ATC Vice President of USA Operations 




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