The goal of Good to Great by Jim Collins is to live simpler and get improved results. The point is to realize that much of what we do is a waste of energy. Thus, the action Mr. Collins directs us to do is to organize our lives around the principles he speaks of. Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins articulates that there are three areas of our lives that people consistently have pain points in. He states, “Our health, relationships, and finances.” The book is focused around the later of the three but its ideas run parallel with Mr. Collins. The intention today is to clearly illustrate how we can use Good to Great principles in these three areas of our lives.
Regarding our health, Collins illuminates an idea of discipline. Can we agree that our health is one of the most valuable things we own? Many things get replaced in our lives but our health is not one. We’ve heard, we are the company we keep. We are the five people we associate with most. Our health is affected by the people around us. Do your “five” build you up or break you down? Collins also points to the idea that your “stop doing” list is more important than your to do list. How many of us have a “stop doing” list? Stop eating food that doesn’t provide me the right nutrition. Stop wasting my energy on things that are out of my control. Simply, stop stressing out and take action instead of worrying. Collins tells a story about a triathlete who “rinses the cottage cheese.” This idea has many points of value but to me I takeaway the idea that consistency is key to our health. By no means, I’m not saying rinse the cottage cheese. Heck, I don’t even eat cottage cheese. I really don’t like it. However, consistent good habits like exercise, mindfulness, and water are proven to be effective in sustaining good health. When we surround ourselves with people that build us up, do our “stop doing” list, and take small consistent baby steps we can improve our health.
Collins gives us 5 key points that we can use in fostering our relationships. Firstly, use technology to accelerate and not create relationships. Technology is a marvelous tool in garnering awareness and building rapport but for people to like and trust us it requires overcoming challenges together and physically being in proximity. Secondly, understand what you can be good at and what you cannot be good at. Professionally, I lasted six weeks behind a cubicle once as a recruiter making calls. Simply, play to your strengths when fostering relationships. Thirdly, Collins states, “Charisma can be as much a liability as an asset. Strength of leadership personality can deter people from bringing you brutal facts.” For us that are highly charismatic people, we need to be mindful of this in our relationships. The simplest way to do this is to close our mouth and open our ears. Fostering relationships depends on our abilities to be open and honest. Fourthly, lead with questions and not answers. How many of us like to be told what to do? Think about your boyfriend or wife, can you remember a time when you told them to take out the trash or do the dishes? I wonder, how it would sound if you formed this in a question and your partner came up with the answer you desired? Would that help eliminate relationship quarrels? Finally, Collins paints a picture about how a “Level 5 Leader” leads with humility. The “how to” here is to blame yourself for a poor job and credit others for a good job. A strong leader understands they don’t need the credit, praise, and pat on the back. Yet, they understand the power of taking the fault on their shoulders. Here’s an example of how this idea relates to helping others save face in a relationship:
“In his now legendary book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” Carnegie tells the story of how General Electric Company was faced with the delicate task of removing Charles Steinmentz from the head of a department. Steinmentz, as it turned out, was a genius when it came to electricity, but washed out as head of the calculating department.
But instead of offending the man—who the company considered indispensable and highly sensitive—GE gave him the new title of “Consulting Engineer.” The title was, for all intents and purposes, for work he was already doing, and it allowed someone else to head up the calculating department.
Steinmentz was happy, as was General Electric Company. They had gently maneuvered their most temperamental star, and they had done it without a storm—by letting him save face.” – John Torre
Fostering a healthy relationship can be accelerated by technology, paved by using our strengths, focused around mindfulness of our charisma, steered with questions, and by giving others the opportunity to take the credit.
Finances. Let me start by stating, by no means am I an expert in this section… actually far from it! The takeaways from Good to Great in relation to our finances are centered around ideologies and not practices for me. When it comes to our money, trust is everything. For me, it’s about getting the right people on the bus. Like Collins, he states for companies, “First who then what.” It’s about getting the right people on the bus and then figuring out where to go. We must learn and educate ourselves but for many of us we need trusted mentors to help us. Moreover, Collins writes about decision making in reference to our businesses. He gives us valuable nuggets but the one I will focus on is “put your best people on the biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.” Collins Hedgehog principles for our finances, companies, and businesses are centered around the idea of understanding what were good at and focusing on it! Ultimately, the call to action is to organize our finances around the single greatest cash flow that impacts our economic engine.
In sum, there is a lot for us to takeaway from Good to Great. Here I’ve attempted to do them justice as they relate to our health, relationships, and finances. Tony Robbins coined, “Where focus goes, energy flows” and the idea of Good to Great is to stop wasting energy on what doesn’t fuel us. The call to action is for us to organize our lives. Ultimately, time is our currency. How are you spending yours?