Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Good to Great

A few months ago my oldest son, Thomas III, recommended reading “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.  This book compiles the results of an exhaustive and systematic study of companies who went from good to great and identifies the characteristics and concepts that enabled these 11 companies to significantly outperform their competitors and the market in general.  Initially I read the book with the intention of acquiring useful knowledge for starting my own business venture.  However, I quickly realized the principles could be applied personally.  One such principle that really got me thinking was the “Stockdale Paradox”.  Stockdale was the highest ranking prisoner held at the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam war and was a captive for eight years before being released.  During his imprisonment he developed an unwaivering, intrinsic belief that he would not merely survive, but would prevail.  But he also confronted the brutal realities facing him as a prisoner of war, including the possibility of his own death.  He made a choice that no matter what happened to him he would use the experience to grow.  This account of a man facing such unimaginable adversity, including being tortured at least 20 times, caused me to reflect deeply about my own adversity.  I realized I was lacking this determination to prevail and, until recently had not confronted the brutal realities of my own situation.  Now that I am confronting these realities, I must also internalize an unwaivering desire to prevail and go from good to great. 

1 comment:

  1. How does a person find that drive within themselves? I would think it's about facing the reality of our circumstances, coming to some sort of acceptance, and then finding the courage and commitment to continue on regardless. Easier said than done, but possible all the same. Here's to triumph!