Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great” is without doubt the most widely respected management and organisational book of the last 20 years. Phrases like “Level Five Leadership”, “Hedgehog Concept”, “Stockdale Paradox”, “Whose on the Bus?” etc.. all now frequent board and management meetings. And what is not to love, the book gave managers pragmatic tools that were supported by research results that were empirical and watertight.
To my surprise I was told last week out of the blue that the Good to Great findings don’t apply to Aussie small business. Being a Collins devotee I went defensive but found it hard to argue with this very sharp business owner’s logic. In his case he has a very good small business on many levels but faced with competition in his sector like Woolworths and Coles Myer it is hard to see how he can avoid getting strangled.
So what hope is there for the little guy?
One of the least memorable chapters in the book by Collins is the work on technology accelerators. He even talks of disputes over wether the chapter deserved to be included at all. This may however be an area of hope for the small Aussie business. The whole move now toward cloud computing is providing the little guys with the same technology accelerators as the heavyweights.
At iVoice we see companies able to leverage their internet access to gain all the functionality that was only available once to the large enterprise. With the cloud or software as a service model small companies don’t have the large capital outlay or the on going staffing requirements and yet they are given all the accelerators. More importantly they retain all the flexibility reserved for the small and nimble.
Maybe great is still possible!