Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Jim Collins on the Best Advice He Ever Received

I read this article last week, and have been thinking about it ever since. Jim Collins, author of Built to Last and Good to Great, shares about a conversation he had with Peter Drucker shortly after Built to Last came out. Here are a couple of excerpts from the article:

“The huge thing he said to me was, ‘Do you want to build ideas to last, or do you want to build an organization to last?’

“I said I wanted to build ideas to last.

“He said, ‘Then you must not build an organization.’

“His point was, the moment you have an organization, you have a beast to feed–this army of people. If you ever start developing ideas to feed the beast rather than having ideas that the beast feeds, your influence will go down, even if your commercial success goes up. Because there’s a huge difference between teaching an idea and selling an idea. In the end, what are you in a battle for? You’re battling to influence the thinking of powerful, discerning people. If you ever abuse that trust, you can lose them. So the moment that arrow changes direction, you’re dead.

“He said something else important: ‘The real discipline comes in saying no to the wrong opportunities.’ Growth is easy. Saying no is hard.

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