Great by Choice | Book Review

Thoughts on 10Xers:

This chapter reminded me quite a bit of the insyte experience. There was no value in looking to what others had done, because we were intentionally trying to do what no one had done before. In addition, we were trying to succeed with only customer/sponsor funding, which had to be a slower, more gradual process. It was going to take time to migrate from a very limited, unique form of rad-hard (primarily digital) design, to becoming RF system-on-chip integrators. What was key, though, was a sustained focus on being paid to learn along the way, to pick up another tool in the tool bag with each project allowing an accumulation of design skill.

Application to Academy Leadership:

Page 37, first paragraph of Unexpected Findings, Collins mentions

"True discipline requires mental independence, and an ability to remain consistent in the face of herd instinct and social pressures."

 This is very consistent with our boot camp script (MLC Page 9) when we discuss the tendency to lose our uniqueness and our sense of integrity as the preservation of political peace dominates the normal state.

In our boot camp, we call this the Fundamental State of Leadership, when we have new thoughts and engage in new behaviors, and are energized to clarify the result we want to create. Absolutely aligned with Collins.

Thoughts on 20 Mile March:

In the listed book examples, the 10X companies most significant results didn't show up for a long time, sometimes well over a decade. Interesting discussion point given the short term focus on quarterly results in US markets. This is an interesting discussion point, particularly with regard to the vision, strategies and tactics of the corporate leadership.

The part about defining a lower bound of achievement resonates. At a personal level, it reminds me of exercise discipline. Some days don't feel like exercise days. However, fanatic discipline usually gets me started on those days, and invariably the work out is fine, and sometimes, surprisingly exceeds expectations!

Application to Academy Leadership:

This is a terrific book for a Focus & Alignment Workshop client company. Or for anyone trying to attempt profound change within an organization. Cara Seeberger at Sterling Payment Technologies may benefit from this chapter. Something to consider in upcoming coaching sessions. Particularly the comment that the 20 Mile March needn't be financial, that it may be a self-improvement march.

Thoughts on AL SMaC Recipe:

SMaC defined:    Specific, Methodical, and Consistent.

Note: A SMaC practice is not the same as a strategy, culture, core values, purpose, or tactics.

All 10X companies SMaC recipes contained things not to do. Pretty important for a three red E2L guys to absorb. Worth thinking about. Reminds me of Steven Sokol: Don't run out of money! I really like David Breasher's SMaC recipe item number seven: In selecting teammates, choose people to get stranded with. Very similar to the last paragraph on page 161 regarding luck and people. It always comes down to people!

Application to Academy Leadership:

Raw thoughts on Academy Leadership SMaC recipe items:

• Maintain and reinforce our reputation that we as leaders first "Walk the Talk."
• Exercise prudence in recruiting and selecting new affiliates. Growth at the expense of integrity is to be avoided.
• Continuous improvement, both in our facilitation, and self-improvement in the application of the leadership principles we promote.
• Reflection on the changes in societal norms and organization practices, which reflect economic, political, and demographic trends.

JE | January 2012