James C. Collins quotes

  • Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Success #Business #Greatness

  • Good is the enemy of great. That's why so few things become great.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Enemy #Excellence

  • That good is the enemy of great is not just a business problem. It is a human problem.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Enemy #Problem #Humans

  • Great vision without great people is irrelevant.
    -- James C. Collins

    #People #Insightful #Vision

  • Get the right people on the bus and in the right seat.
    -- James C. Collins

    #People #Funny Business #Bus

  • In a world of constant change, the fundamentals are more important than ever.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Communication #Important #Fundamentals

  • Creativity dies in an indisciplined environment.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Creativity #Environment

  • I don't know where we should take this company, but I do know that if I start with the right people, ask them the right questions, and engage them in vigorous debate, we will find a way to make this company great.
    -- James C. Collins

    #People #Way #Debate

  • Bad decisions made with good intentions, are still bad decisions.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Decision #Good Intentions #Made

  • For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Meaningful #Impossible #Ends

  • It occurs to me,Jim,that you spend too much time trying to be interesting. Why don't you invest more time being interested?" Collin's advice from John Gardner that he took to heart.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Heart #Interesting #Advice

  • The purpose of bureaucracy is to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Business #Discipline #Purpose

  • Consider the idea that charisma can be as much a liability as an asset. Your strength of personality can sow the seeds of problems, when people filter the brutal facts from you.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Ideas #People #Personality

  • A great company will have many once-in-a-liftetime opportunities.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Business #Opportunity #Great Company

  • "Growth!" is not a Hedgehog Concept. Rather, if you have the right Hedgehog Concept and make decisions relentlessly consistent with it, you will create such momentum that your main problem will not be how to grow, but how not to grow too fast.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Business #Decision #Growth

  • Not one of the good-to-great companies focused obsessively on growth.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Business #Growth #Good To Great

  • It may seem odd to talk about something as soft and fuzzy as "passion" as an integral part of a strategic framework. But throughout the good-to-great companies, passion became a key part of the Hedgehog Concept.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Business #Passion #Keys

  • The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you've made a hiring mistake. The best people don't need to be managed. Guided, taught, led-yes. But not tightly managed.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Business #Mistake #People

  • Genius of AND. Embrace both extremes on a number of dimensions at the same time. Instead of choosing a OR B, figure out how to have A AND B-purpose AND profit, continuity AND change, freedom AND responsibility, etc.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Business #Responsibility #Numbers

  • Level 5 leaders are differentiated from other levels of leaders in that they have a wonderful blend of personal humility combined with extraordinary professional will. Understand that they are very ambitious; but their ambition, first and foremost, is for the company's success. They realize that the most important step they must make to become a Level 5 leader is to subjugate their ego to the company's performance. When asked for interviews, these leaders will agree only if it's about the company and not about them.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Leadership #Ambition #Humility

  • Dreams make you click, juice you, turn you on, excite the living daylights out of you. You cannot wait to get out of bed to continue pursuing your dream. The kind of dream I'm talking about gives meaning to your life. it is the ultimate motivator.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Dream #Talking #Giving

  • Whether you prevail or fail depends more on what you do to yourself than on what the world does to you.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Doe #World #Failing

  • The only way to deliver to the people who are achieving is to not burden them with the people who are not achieving.
    -- James C. Collins

    #People #Way #Achieve

  • Mediocrity results first and foremost from management failure, not technological failure.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Mediocrity #Firsts #Management

  • The signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change. The signature of mediocrity is inconsistency.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Signatures #Mediocrity #Inconsistency

  • Look, I don't really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we'll figure out how to take it someplace great.
    -- James C. Collins

    #People #Looks #Figures

  • In an ironic twist, I now see Good to Great not as a sequel to Built to Last, but more of a prequel. Good to Great is about how to turn a good organization into one that produces sustained great results. Built to Last is about how you take a company with great results and turn it into an enduring great company of iconic stature.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Organization #Ironic #Twists

  • The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Signatures #Mediocrity #Inconsistency

  • Leaders who led their organizations quietly and humbly, were much more effective than flashy, charismatic high profile leaders.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Organization #Leader #Profile

  • The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconstancy. The signature of greatness is a disciplined and consistent focus on the right things.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Greatness #Focus #Signatures

  • We are not imprisoned by circumstances, setbacks, mistakes or staggering defeats, we are freed by our choices.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Mistake #Choices #Defeat

  • Not every financial company toppled during the 2008 crisis, and some seized the opportunity to take advantage of weaker competitors in the midst of the tumult.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Opportunity #Financial #Midst

  • Just because a company falls doesn't invalidate what we can learn by studying that company when it was at its historical best.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Fall #Historical #Study

  • If I'm going really, really fast, I can do a page of finished text a day, on average.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Average #Pages

  • I am completely Socratic.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Socratic

  • Companies that change best over time know first and foremost what should not change.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Firsts #Should #Company

  • I can just let my curiosity wander unleashed.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Curiosity #Wander

  • I've never found an important decision made by a great organization that was made at a point of unanimity. Significant decisions carry risks and inevitably some will oppose it. In these settings, the great legislative leader must be artful in handling uncomfortable decisions, and this requires rigor.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Leadership #Organization #Decision

  • Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not markets, or technology, or competition, or products. It is one thing above all others: the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Technology #People #Competition

  • If you have more than three priorities then you don't have any.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Priorities #Three #Consciousness

  • Most people will look back and realize they did not have a great life because it's just so easy to settle for a good life.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Good Life #Life And Love #People

  • Level 5 leaders are a study in duality: modest and willful, humble and fearless.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Humble #Leader #Fearless

  • Those who turn good organizations into great organizations are motivated by a deep creative urge and an inner compulsion for sheer unadulterated excellence for its own sake.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Leadership #Organization #Creative

  • It took Einstein ten years of groping through the fog to get the theory of special relativity, and he was a bright guy.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Perseverance #Fog #Years

  • Good is the enemy of great.. The vast majority of good companies remain just that - good, but not great.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Marketing #Enemy #Majority

  • There is a sense of exhilaration that comes from facing head-on the hard truths and saying, "We will never give up. We will never capitulate. It might take a long time, but we will find a way to prevail."
    -- James C. Collins

    #Life #Motivational #Giving Up

  • Good is the enemy of great.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Sports #Motivational Sports #Enemy

  • We must reject the idea... Well-intentioned, but dead wrong... That the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become "more like a business." Most businesses... Like most of anything else in life... Fall somewhere between mediocre and good.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Fall #Greatness #Ideas

  • If we allow the celebrity rock-star model of leadership to triumph, we will see the decline of corporations and institutions of all types. The twentieth century was a century of greatness, but we face the very real prospect that the next century will see very few enduring great institutions.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Stars #Real #Greatness

  • People need BHAGs - big hairy audacious goals.
    -- James C. Collins

    #People #Goal #Vision

  • The kind of commitment I find among the best performers across virtually every field is a single-minded passion for what they do, an unwavering desire for excellence in the way they think and the way they work. Genuine confidence is what launches you out of bed in the morning, and through your day with a spring in your step.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Morning #Spring #Commitment

  • A visionary company doesn't simply balance between idealism and profitability: it seeks to be highly idealistic and highly profitable. A visionary company doesn't simply balance between preserving a tightly held core ideology and stimulating vigorous change and movement; it does both to an extreme.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Change #Balance #Doe

  • Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Good Life #School #Keys

  • The critical question is not whether you'll have luck, but what you do with the luck that you get.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Choices #Luck #Critical

  • No matter what. Wherever your mind wanders, it seems to turn up at the same Field of Dreams. It's the vision you wake up with in the morning, and it's the last thing you picture before you fall asleep. Everytime you think of it, the idea in your head seems to get more vivid, filled in with more detail: You not only want to win a gold medal at the Olympics, you not only can see yourself standing there on the podium, but you can also feel the goose bumps as your national anthem is played; the tears are in your eyes. (That's how real a dream can be and should be)
    -- James C. Collins

    #Dream #Morning #Real

  • For no matter what we achieve, if we don't spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect, we cannot possibly have a great life. But if we spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect - people we really enjoy being on the bus with and who will never disappoint us - then we will almost certainly have a great life, no matter where the bus goes. The people we interviewed from the good-to-great companies clearly loved what they did, largely because they loved who they did it with.
    -- James C. Collins

    #People #Matter #Majority

  • If I were running a company today, I would have one priority above all others: to acquire as many of the best people as I could. I'd put off everything else to fill my bus. Because things are going to come back. My flywheel is going to start to turn. And the single biggest constraint on the success of my organization is the ability to get and to hang on to enough of the right people.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Running #Organization #People

  • You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time, have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Perseverance #Reality #Discipline

  • Faith in the endgame helps you live through the months or years of buildup.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Years #Months #Helping

  • A company should limit its growth based on its ability to attract enough of the right people.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Leadership #People #Growth

  • In a truly great company profits and cash flow become like blood and water to a healthy body: They are absolutely essential for life but they are not the very point of life
    -- James C. Collins

    #Responsibility #Blood #Water

  • By definition, it is not possible to everyone to be above the average.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Average #Definitions

  • A culture of discipline is not a principle of business, it is a principle of greatness.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Greatness #Discipline #Principles

  • If we only have great companies, we will merely have a prosperous society, not a great one. Economic growth and power are the means, not the definition, of a great nation.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Mean #Greatness #Power

  • Smart people instinctively understand the dangers of entrusting our future to self-serving leaders who use our institutions, whether in the corporate or social sectors, to advance their own interests.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Smart #Self #People

  • The best CEOs in our research display tremendous ambition for their company combined with the stoic will to do whatever it takes, no matter how brutal (within the bounds of the company's core values), to make the company great. Yet at the same time they display a remarkable humility about themselves, ascribing much of their own success to luck, discipline and preparation rather than personal genius.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Leadership #Ambition #Humility

  • Level 5 leaders are fanatically driven, infected with an incurable need to produce sustained results. They are resolved to do whatever it takes to make the company great, no matter how big or hard the decisions.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Leadership #Decision #Matter

  • Those fortunate enough to find or create a practical intersection of the three circles have the basis for a great work life.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Work #Circles #Three

  • The challenge is not just to build a company that can endure; but to build one that is worthy of enduring.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Entrepreneur #Challenges #Endure

  • Focusing solely on what you can potentially do better than any other organization is the only path to greatness.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Greatness #Organization #Path

  • The difference between a good leader and a great leader is humility.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Humility #Differences #Leader

  • Genuine confidence is what launches you out of bed in the morning, and through your day with a spring in your step.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Morning #Spring #Bed

  • Profit is like oxygen, food, water, and blood for the body; they are not the point of life, but without them, there is no life.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Oxygen #Blood #Water

  • The greatest leaders build organizations that, in the end, don't need them.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Organization #Leader #Needs

  • People are not your most important asset....the right people are.
    -- James C. Collins

    #People #Important #Assets

  • Perhaps your quest to be part of building something great will not fall in your business life. But find it somewhere. If not in corporate life, then perhaps in making your church great. If not there, then perhaps a nonprofit, or a community organization, or a class you teach. Get involved in something that you care so much about that you want to make it the greatest it can possibly be, not because of what you will get, but just because it can be done.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Fall #Class #Organization

  • ...the question, Why try for greatness? would seem almost tautological. If you're doing something you care that much about, and you believe in its purpose deeply enough, then it is impossible to imagine not trying to make it great. It's just a given.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Business #Believe #Greatness

  • Managing your problems can only make you good, whereas building your opportunities is the only way to become great.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Opportunity #Mind Your Own Business #Way

  • Those who build and perpetuate mediocrity...are motivated more by the fear of being left behind.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Marketing #Mediocrity #Motivated

  • Indeed, the real question is not, "Why greatness?" but "What work makes you feel compelled to try to create greatness?" if you have to ask the question, "Why should we try to make it great? Isn't success enough?" then you're probably int he wrong line of work.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Business #Real #Greatness

  • Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company. It's not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious-but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Ambition #Self #Goal

  • The essence of profound insight is simplicity.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Essence #Profound #Simplicity

  • If your company disappeared, would it leave a gaping hole that could not easily be filled by any other enterprise on the planet?
    -- James C. Collins

    #Leadership #Holes #Planets

  • A dream is a feeling that sticks - and propels.
    -- James C. Collins

    #Dream #Feelings #Sticks