Who wants to be only good when you can be GREAT? Anita Hurreesing, our Mauritius Business Leader, shares her views on one of her favourite books from TowerStone’s recommended reading list, Good to Great by Jim Collins.

Please give us a brief personal account of the book Good to Great by Jim Collins.

AH: Good to Great was in fact the very first book I read since I joined TowerStone. It really moved me and made me think: “Yes I made the right choice, I’m where I should be.” Why? Because the core message of the book relates to our offerings at TowerStone, i.e. aligning people to organisational values and bringing fulfilment in the workplace. The book really spoke about what TowerStone is all about. This is what appeals to me.

How have the ideologies presented in this book affected your life?

AH: I think the very first thing that spoke to me is that you need to get the right people in the right place in your bus – it’s not your market, your technology, competition nor the ability to have the best products  or services, but it’s the ability to get and keep the right people on board.
You start as a professional, and as you move up in your career you start looking for fulfilment. Not only fulfilment for yourself, but also for your organisation. You need to ensure that all your people, whatever their differences, move towards the same goal and direction. This awakened an awareness in me to practise this philosophy in our organisation.

What did you enjoy most about this book?

AH: I enjoyed the different concepts that Collins uses when he did the analysis of different companies which moved from being good to great. The author asks: “Are you able to confront with care without blaming?” Most organisations tend to downsize when things don’t go right. By not retaining talent, you will need to start all over again.

I especially liked the Flywheel concept that Collins speaks about – it’s a bit like a pendulum. When you push a pendulum, it will move forward; when you push it again with more effort, it will move further forward. As in business, each time you push forward and the more you persist, you eventually reap the rewards. Instead of saying “we tried and it did not work”, our attitude should be “let’s bounce back and try again”.

What did you learn from reading this book and how has it benefited you as a leader?

AH: The book taught me that in leading by example, you can inspire people to become passionate about what they do, and inspire them toward a common goal and direction.  Being a leader and coach, as opposed to micro-managing my people, allows me to watch my people grow and take ownership for their work. For me, this brings much satisfaction.

In many organisations, there is talk of the “Y” generation (Millennials) as the “ME” generation. These are young adults of our day, who are believed to have unrealistic expectations in terms of their careers and salaries. I believe this generation is really looking for fulfilment. In the same breath, we as business leaders, like to bring in a new generation of professionals – the kind of people who are adaptable, have the ability to learn independently, have entrepreneurial skills, thinking skills and who can find solutions. For this to happen, we need leaders who are coaches.

Tell us about a specific passage/s that struck you as significant or interesting in the book.

AH: The author spoke about how some CEOs were not spending all of their weekends working. They could delegate and coach and this enabled them to maintain harmony between their personal and work life. This comforted me in some way as I realised we can still be successful and maintain this harmony.

Why should I be reading this book?

AH: This book will help you to bring about transformation in yourself. It will encourage you to manage yourself differently and teach you how to lead your people, and make a transition from being good to great.

What is your lasting impression of the book? Please share a quote that has stuck with you from the book.

AH: For me, the lasting impression would be that there is always room for improvement. Good to Great really encourages you to be successful, by being disciplined, setting goals, and leading and inspiring others in the same direction.

Collins shares a brief story in the book which often comes to mind:

The Vice-President of Circuit City Store was asked to provide five top factors which would lead a company from good to great:

“1st factor: People
2nd factor: People
3rd factor: People
4th factor: People
5th factor: People” (Collins, 2001).

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~ By Vanessa Pita – Content Editor

You can order your copy of Good to Great, just CLICK HERE.

Book reference: Collins, J (2001), Good to Great, London: Random House.

Read to Lead

“What you read becomes what you know. When you practise what you know, you begin to grow. As you grow and share your knowledge you in turn contribute to the growth of others. When you share with and enlighten those around you, you have espoused wisdom. Knowledge speaks, wisdom leads.” ~ Brian Eagar.