Great by Choice - Summary
Highlights by David Willden
“We can not predict the future. But we can create it.”
Jim Collins and Morten Hansen launched a 9-year study project behind “Great By Choice” beginning in 2002, when America was in turmoil. They asked the question, “why do a few companies prosper in uncertain times and most crash?”
The authors chose a set of major companies that attained spectacular results for over 15 years in the midst of shaky environments. The called these companies “10Xers” for delivering shareholder earnings at least 10 times higher than their industry.
Exactly why did the “10Xer” realize such amazing results, especially when companies operating in the very same fast-moving, unpredictable, and tumultuous environments — did not?
We cannot predict the future. But we can create it. Think back to 15 years ago, and consider what’s happened since, the destabilizing events — in the world, in your country, in the markets, in your work, in your life — that defied all expectations. We can be astonished, confounded, shocked, stunned, delighted, or terrified, but rarely prescient. None of us can predict with certainty the twists and turns our lives will take. Life is uncertain, the future unknown. We began the nine-year research project behind this book in 2002, when America awoke from its false sense of stability, safety, and wealth entitlement. The long-running bull market crashed. The government budget surplus flipped back to deficits. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, horrified and enraged people everywhere, and war followed. Meanwhile, throughout the world, technological change and global competition continued their relentless, disruptive march. It led us to a simple question: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? When buffeted by tumultuous events, when hit by big, fast-moving forces that we can neither predict nor control, what distinguishes those who perform exceptionally well from those who underperform or worse? We don’t choose study questions.