Each month Abington Library will feature a favorite book from a faculty, staff member, or student. They will give a brief synopsis of their chosen book.
Dr. Karla Fisher is Chancellor at ASU-Beebe.
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t
I first read Jim Collins’ Good to Great in 2002, not long after I moved from the corporate world into higher education…and it has informed my approach to leadership, organizational structure, and personnel development ever since.
Based in years of research at a wide variety of organizations, the concepts are deceptively simple: easy to describe, but not easy to implement. Making the leap from good to great requires focus, discipline, and fortitude, not only in leadership but throughout an organization. As Collins says, becoming great “is not primarily a function of circumstance but largely a matter of conscious choice.” I find this to be a very hopeful message: as an organization and as individuals, we have the ability to forge our future.
Since first reading this book—along with Collins’ subsequent works Good to Great and the Social Sectors, Built to Last, and Great by Choice—I have witnessed first-hand how critically important it is start with people. As Collins puts it:
“You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you're going, how you're going to get there, and who's going with you. Most people assume that great bus drivers (leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they're going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision. In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with ‘where’ but with ‘who.’ They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”
Over the past year at ASUB, we’ve made a conscious effort to identify talent to meet institutional needs, getting the right people in the right seats. With our restructured leadership team and centralized administration, we’re ready to take the next steps on our road to greatness: One College, Vanguard Strong!