Good To Great By Jim Collins - Discipline Lessons

Good To Great By Jim Collins – Discipline Lessons

Jim collins classic book one of the best sellers of all time. “Good To Great”.

Good To Great By Jim Collins, He explained how some companies go from being just good to being great. While other companies don’t. If I summarize this book in one word. it would be all about discipline. That is the most important topic in this book. He talks about a different kind of discipline. And I will go into it with detail.

Major topics – the discipline of people, the discipline of thought, the discipline of action.


The first discipline that Jim talks about is the discipline of people, what kind of people do you have in the business. because that will determine how successful your business is. He also talks about the various kinds of leadership. The discipline of people is separated into two major components.


If you examine the organizational hierarchy. The lowest level of a leader is a highly capable individual. And if you go higher, There’s a level 5 Leader. He is focused on building greatness. And the key components of his building greatness, are through humility, a fanatic drive, intelligence, and Will-power.


So here what Jim is saying, First you have to get the right people in the organization. And wrong people out of the organization. You have to be very rigorous in your people’s decisions. As they say, “Hire Slow Fire Fast”. Similarly, Jim advised when you’re in doubt don’t hire, keep looking. And when you know you need to make a change you need to act quickly.

The most important idea of people disciplines that he talks about. Is to put your best people on your biggest opportunities, Not on your biggest problems. As they say “Never Sell Off Your Best People, You Only Sell Off Your Biggest Problems”. The idea is to keep your best people with you. Put your best people on the biggest opportunities, Not your biggest problems.

It sums up the topic “Discipline Of People”. I highly recommend you read this book by yourself. And get the most out of it in more accurate detail.


The discipline of thought is broken down into two components. Confronting the brutal facts and then the Hedgehog concept. We’ll get into it in detail, let’s start with confronting the brutal facts.


We have to create an environment where truth prevails. Creating an environment where you know that truth will be spoken. He talks about four concepts. 1st: “Lead with questions, not answers”. 2nd: “Use dialogue and debate, not coercion”. 3rd: ”Conduct autopsies blaming people”.And 4th: “Build red-flag mechanism’’. These four concepts lead to the creation of an environment where truth prevails.

And Jim talks about a very good concept. Which comes from Admiral Jim Stockdale, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. And what he talked about the idea that the prisoners of war who really survived were not necessarily just the ones who were the optimist. But the ones who had the faith that they will prevail no matter what. They will come out of this difficulty. And at the same time, they were able to confront the most brutal facts as they were at that moment. So he called this the Stockdale paradox. Which is knowing that you will come out of this difficulty. But also confronting the brutal facts that exist today.


Actually, It’s based on a greek parable that says, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. The fox uses a lot of strategies to catch the hedgehog (With Complexities). But the hedgehog only knows one big thing “Defend” (That is what simplifies it).

Take away the complexities and simplify things. And there is this concept of the three intersecting circles. That is where you want to spend the most energy, resources, and time of the company. The three intersecting circles are:

  1. What is it that you are deeply passionate about.
  2. Things you can be the best at.
  3. What drives the economic engine.

If the company is working at the intersection of all three, then it is highly likely that the company will be successful. Because it has the focus like a Hedgehog – Simplified and focused on one thing. And make sure to do all the things that need to be done. So that is what summarizes the discipline of thought.

Recommended Readings: Lessons From The Toughest Man Alive


It’s a very simple concept. Basically, It is all about discipline which is getting down to the smallest level of detail. And executing to the best you can with ultimate discipline.

Jim Collins stated this as “Rinsing your cottage cheese” factor. As that an athlete rinses out his cottage cheese of all fat so that he gets the highest quality-protein in his diet. He gives an example of a Triathlete (Dave Scott), Who has an immense discipline of eating 2,000 to 3,000 calories in the morning with consistency. Believing that every little bit counts. Focusing on the smallest level of detail in your business, that is what he called the discipline of action.

He also mentioned that most companies die not because of a lack of opportunity. but because of too much opportunity. So it is very crucial to have a “Stop Doing List” a list of things that you don’t have to do. And stay focused on the things that are important for your company. Again, having the discipline to focus on what is the most important thing for the business is what he called the discipline of action.


If there’s one takeaway from this book, it is discipline. So again I recommend you to read this book by yourself and get the most out of it. There’s a lot of interesting ideas that will help you to shape up your skillset.