Jim Collins is the Bestselling author of Good to Great and serves as a teacher to various leaders. The book consists of eight chapters written to help companies escape great falls by learning from companies who were once great but eventually delved into shadows. Collins starts his book by stating that for effective teaching instead of  coming up with right answers, one has to come up with right questions.

Collins choice of metaphor to describe a falling company to staged disease is subtle which is harder to detect but easier to cure in the early stages, easier to detect but harder to cure in the later stages.  Assembling his data driven frame work on why some of the companies who have reached zenith of success suddenly collapse and never revive their status, Jim Collins comes up with five stages  of decline

1. Hubris Born of Success

2. Undisciplined Pursuit of More

3. Denial of Risk and Peril

4. Grasping for Salvation

5. Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

Collins however states that not all companies undergo the fate of death. Some can reverse the course from any stage citing Mulcahy’s example of bringing Xerox back to glory.

These stages are applicable to any aspect of our lives. Collins’ illustration of various companies undergoing stages of decline makes us reflect on the mistakes in decision making when someone is under pressure; how in the process of making revolutionary changes can make a company fall with a louder thud.

Collins expertise in explaining the five stages of decline with detailed research is insightful. He focuses on Bill Gore’s concept of “waterline principle” for sound decision making and taking risks.  Rise and fall is unpredictable.  As long as one stands firm to the core values and doesn’t give in, recovery is possible.

October 10th, 2019 by