“Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?” Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen answer this question in their book, “Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck-Why Some Thrive Despite Them All.” Their research compared companies that began from, “a position of vulnerability.” Also in unstable environments. Some were able to rise and become great companies while others did poorly.
Within its pages we learn, among other lessons that the choice to succeed is crucial. Great companies and people for that matter, must choose to be great. With that choice in mind develop an empirical methodology to attain greatness. Regardless of external circumstances or an unfavorable environment. We are helped to appreciate that it’s not so much the chaos a company faces. Instead it’s what that company chooses to do in the face of chaos.
They also introduce you to the “20 mile march.” This refers to the ability to set a goal and maintain a disciplined approach to achievement. For example when times are hard you dig in. Your approach has been well thought out and each benchmark still needs to be reached. Equally as important, is this same disciplined attitude in good times. Stick to your plan and reach your benchmarks. Don’t how are yourself to become overzealous. Remain disciplined. This point is amazingly illustrated with the comparison of the explorers Scott and Amundsen. Their differing approach to the same task and their outcomes yields many lessons.
“Greatness is not primarily a matter of circumstance. Greatness is first and foremost a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”
Great by Choice