Great by Choice. By Jim Collins.

 

  • Death Line Risk (which can kill or severely damage the enterprise)

  • Asymmetric Risk (in which the downside dwarfs the upside)

  • Uncontrollable risk (which cannot be controlled or managed)

The 10Xer cases took less risk than the comparison cases yet produced vastly superior results

  • Contrary to the image of brazen,, self-confident, risk-taking entrepreneurs who see only upside potential. 10X leaders exercise productive paranoia, obsessing about what can go wrong. They ask questions like: what is the worst case scenario? What are the consequences of the worst case scenario? What if? What if? What if?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The 10X cases didn’t have a greater bias for speed than the comparison companies. Taking time available before the risk profile changes, whether short or long, to make a rigorous and deliberate decision produces a better outcome than rushing a decision.

  • Key Question: regarding the biggest threats and dangers facing your enterprise, how much time before the risk profile changes?

  • Chapter 6: SMaC

  • SMaC stands for Specific Methodical and Consistent.

  • A SMaC recipe is a set of durable operating practices that create a replicable and consistent success formula; it is clear and concrete, enabling the entire enterprise to unify and organize its efforts, giving clear guidance regarding what to do and what not to do. A SMaC recipe reflects empirical validation and insight about what actually works and why.

  • Chapter 7: Return on Luck

  • We defined a luck event as one that meets three tests:

  • Luck happens a lot, both good and bad luck. Every company in research experienced significant luck event in our era of analysis. Yet the 10x cases were not generally luckier than the comparison cases.

  • 10xers cred good luck as a contributor to their success, despite the undeniable fact that others also experienced good luck, but they never blame bad luck for setbacks or failures.

  • Some of the comparison companies had extraordinary good luck, better luck even than the 10x winners, yet failed because they squandered it.

  • ROL might be an even more important concept than return on assets (ROA), return on equity, return on sales (ROS) or return on investment.

  • Who Luck—the luck of finding the right mentor, partner, teammate, leader, and friend—is one of the most important types of luck. The best way to find a current of good luck is to swim with great people, and to build deep and enduring relationships with people for whom you’d risk your life and who’d risk their lives for you.

 

  • Level 5 Ambition: 10xers channel their ego and intensity into something larger and more enduring than themselves.

  • They’re ambitious, to be sure, but for a purpose beyond themselves, be it building a great company, changing the world or achieving some object that’s ultimately not about them.

  • Chapter 3: 20 Mile March

  • A good 20 Mile March has the following seven characteristics:

    • Clear performance markers

    • Self-imposed constraints

    • Appropriate to the specific enterprise

    • Largely within the company’s control to achieve

    • A proper timeframe—long enough to manage, yet short enough to have teeth

    • Imposed by the company upon itself

    • Achieved with high consistency

  • Unexpected findings. 20 Mile Marchers have an edge in volatile environments; the more turbulent the world, the more you need to be a 20 Mile Marcher.

  • There is an inverse correlation between pursuit of maximum growth and 10x success.

  • Comparison company leaders often pressed for maximum growth in robust times, thereby exposing their enterprises to calamity in an unexpected downturn.

  • 10x winners left growth on the table, always assuming that something bad lurked around the corner, thereby ensuring they wouldn’t be caught overextended.

  • Chapter 4: Fire Bullets, Then Cannonballs

  • A “fire bullets then cannonballs” approach better explains the success of 10X companies than big-leap innovations and predictive genius

  • A bullet is a low cost, low risk and low distraction test or experiment. 10Xers use bullets to empirically validate what will actually work. Based on that empirical validation, they then concentrate their resources to fire a cannonball, enabling large returns from concentrated bets.

  • The 10X cases fired a significant number of bullets that never hit anything. They didn’t know ahead of time which bullets would hit or be successful.

  • 10Xers appear to have no better ability to predict impending changes and events than the comparisons. They aren’t visionary geniuses; they’re empiricists.

  • The combination of creativity and discipline—translated into the ability to scale innovation with greater consistency, better explains some of the greatest success stories than the mythology of big-hit,, single step breakthroughs.

  • Chapter 5: Leading Above The Death Line

  • Build cash reserves and buffers—oxygen canisters—to prepare for unexpected events and bad luck before they happen

  • Bound risk—death line risk, asymmetric risk, and uncontrollable risk—and manage time based risk

  • Zoom out, then zoom in, remaining hyper vigilant to sense changing conditions and respond effectively

  • It’s what you do before the storm hits—the decision and disciplines and buffers and shock absorbers already in place that matters most in determining whether your enterprise pulls ahead, falls behind or dies when the storm hits.

  • 10Xers are extremely prudent in how they approach and manage risk, paying special attention to three categories of risk

  • Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, while others do not?

  • What did great companies share in common that distinguished them from their direct comparison?

  • Comparisons are companies that were in the same industry with the same or very similar opportunities during the same era as the 10X companies, yet they did not product great performance.

  • Chapter 2: 10xers

  • 10Xers—companies that didn’t merely get by or just become successful. They truly thrived. Every 10X beat its industry index by at least 10 times.

  • 10X cases in this study: Amgen, Biomet, Intel, Microsoft, Progressive Insurance, Southwest Airlines, Stryker

  • 10xers are not more creative, more visionary, more charismatic, more ambitious, more blessed with luck, more risk seeking, more heroic or more prone to making big, bold moves. To be clear, not saying 10xers lacked creative, intensity, ferocious ambition, or the courage to bet big. They displayed all the traits, but so did the others.

  • How did they distinguish themselves?

    • 10xers bring this idea to life by a triad of core behaviors: fanatic discipline, empirical creativity and productive paranoia.

    • Animating these three core behaviors is a central motivating force, Level 5 ambition.

  • 10xers understand that they face continuous uncertainty and that they cannot control, and cannot accurately predict significant aspects of the world around them. On the other hand, 10xers reject the idea that forces outside their control or chance events will determine their results; they accept full responsibility for their own fate.

  • Fanatical Discipline: discipline, in essence is consistency of action—consistency with values, consistency with long term goals, consistency with performance standards, consistency of method, consistency over time.

  • 10xers are utterly relentless, monomaniacal even, unbending in their focus on their quests. They don’t overreact to events, succumb to the herd, or leap for alluring—but irrelevant—opportunities.

  • Empirical Creativity: empirical means relying upon direct observation, conducting practical experiments and/or engaging directly with evidence rather than relying on opinion, whim, conventional wisdom, authority or untested ideas.

  • Having an empirical foundation enables 10xers to make bold, creative moves and bound their risk.

  • Productive Paranoia: 10xers differ from their less successful comparisons in how they maintain hyper vigilance in good times as well as bad.

  • Indeed, they believe that conditions will—absolutely with 100 percent certainty—turn against them without warning, at some unpredictable point in time, at some highly inconvenient time. And they’d better be prepared.

Fuel Performance 

 

If we want to create lasting change, we should “make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy.” Habits are like financial capital—forming one today is an investment that will automatically give out returns for years to come.