What It Takes to Go From ‘Good’ to ‘Great’

The Flywheel Effect

This last article in our series featuring wisdom from Jim Collins’ book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t discusses how transformation occurs. 

Collins points out that good-to-great transformations don’t happen in “one fell swoop.” He shares that there is a pattern of building up and breaking through—a flywheel effect—before getting to a stellar outcome. When companies try to skip that internal process and take shortcuts to achieve a monumental change, they risk entering a “doom loop” where there’s no consistent direction or progress. 

Flywheel-Inspired Food for Thought

1. Apply consistent effort.
Flywheels store energy, helping to make an engine run reliably. In the same way, your constant attention will help ensure your business runs smoothly and gains momentum as you strive to meet your goals.

2. Don’t try to defy the laws of physics.
Be wary of any “solutions” that promise to accelerate the flywheel too quickly—they might spin your business out of control.

3. Leverage your existing assets.
Build on the tools, processes, skills, technology, and other strengths you already have rather than starting from scratch. You’ll get the flywheel moving in the right direction more quickly.

4. Don’t let things coast for too long.
Though a well-established flywheel may turn on its own for a while, eventually it will need additional energy to keep it spinning. Like a work truck that isn’t maintained, neglected parts of your business will fail if you don’t put forth any effort to sustain them. 

 If you missed the previous articles in this series, check them out on our website: Humble Yet Driven Leaders, The Right People, Confronting Reality, Hedgehog Mindset, and Discipline and Technology. 

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