Thursday, May 13, 2010

Putting "Good to Great" in Practice

A few of us at Quincy Medical Center have been engaged in a "discussion group" re. Jim Collins' bestseller "Good to Great", a fantastic book laying out some of the elements common to great companies that Collins and his team identified through research. While none of the elements are revolutionary by themselves, the framework developed by Collins is very elegant - it resonates with "management intuition", is easily accessible by all levels of management, and is fairly practical to implement (although not necessarily without rigor).

One of the ideas that our group keeps coming back to in various discussions is that the journey to Greatness begins with the right people. Many of us "know" this, but still get caught up in a race to develop "visions", "goals", "processes", or "business models". Collins' research patiently urges us to first focus on ensuring that the "right people are on the bus", and by the same token, that "the wrong people are off the bus" before we can engage in any meaningful task defining "what" these people should be doing.

Another practical application that we have developed using this framework is that, even though Collins developed his framework based on research on companies, the principles can also be applied to "departments" to help guide managers and directors in their drive for greatness. This makes the material eminently accessible to all levels of an organization.

One more concept that our group is now exploring is developing a model for monitoring the progress towards greatness. We've found that a number of individuals and departments have been persevering towards greatness for some time, but have not been able to adequately measure their progress towards the same. Our team is now developing a "performance improvement" model that can help such individuals in this endeavor.

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