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Jim Collins talk

This post may not be directed exclusively towards the digital realm, but when you are given the opportunity to hear someone as influential as Jim Collins speak you blog about it. For those of you who may not know Jim Collins is a researcher, writer, and all around great business mind. He has written or co-authorized such amazing works as Good to Great, and Built to Last. Jim has had the privilege of interviewing and picking the brain of some of the worlds greatest business people, and has used past occurrences to help others gain a better insight into success.


Jim covered many topics and shared many viewpoints which all included great metaphors, because you can’t have a great talk without some metaphors. It was at the end of his speech that brought it all together in these ten items:

  1. Read his book and visit his website, there is something to learn (of course he would suggest that one)
  2. Make sure that your company bus has its seats filled with the right people. Who is driving? Can the people on the bus handle situations that may come up in a fiscal year?
  3. Double your questions to statements ratio in the next year. What he means by this is that to become successful there should be more listening and learning than talking. Some of the most successful people in business did not get there by preaching to the choir. They got there by learning from others and getting as much information from people as possible. Jim said that his mentor told him once that, “Jim you seem to spend a ton of time trying to be interesting, why don’t invest more time in being interested”
  4. You have to sit down with your team and say to yourselves, “What are the brutal facts we have to confront”
  5. Set your ten mile march and stick to it. Jim is referring to marching forward with a goal in mind and not exceeding it. Know your limits and don’t go past them because slow and steady will win the race. Companies that are successful set their mark and reach it for years and years and years. The flash in the pan over extends and regrets it after the flash has fizzled
  6. Fire five new bullets by next year. When you are trying to hit something with that one big strike with your cannon, don’t take bad cannon shots until you get to the target. Use small gun shots to use for aiming and when you are ready then fire your cannon (the big idea). “Navigate the uncertainty”
  7. Be stable enough to go an entire you without any revenue, because someday you may have to
  8. Create a stop doing list. Work is infinite, time is finite. Managing your work can lead to nervous break down, the only thing we can do is manage our time
  9. This goes with number 8…TURN OFF YOUR ELECTRONIC GADGETS for time every day or week (your preference). Give yourself time to be alone and think
  10. Set a 15 year BHAG (big hairy audacious goal). When some of our greatest leaders fell in the past one way they were able to get back up was to focus on that one big hairy audacious goal so far away it worked.
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