As I mentioned here about a week ago, I’ve become fascinated with Jim Collins new book, How the Mighty Fall: and Why Some Companies Never Give In(HTMF). So full of common sense that we fooled ourselves into not believing, backed up by data from rigorous research that forces you to believe. Collins does all leaders a service in this book.

The biggest takeaway I’ve learned from the book is similar to the big takeaway from Good to Great(G2G), Collins’ previous book. In G2G, Collins pretty much proves the old adage that there is no such thing as an overnight success, and then explains the steps to get from being merely “Good” to “Great.” In HTMF he proves that there are no overnight failures and then outlines the steps generally followed to go from “Great” to “Goat,” even showing how former great companies heralded in G2G such as Fannie Mae and Circuit City caused their own downturns.

Additionally HTMF shows how organizations who have started failing can reverse that trend and get back to greatness, giving us “markers” for possibly identifying whether we have unwittingly started the downward spiral.

The lessons of HTMF, although drawn from large company research, are very applicable to small and mid-size businesses as well. So I’ll be blogging over the next few weeks about HTMF and translating it’s lesson to the small and medium sized businesses, reviewing all five stages of failure Collins’ research has confirmed.

Stage One: Hubris of Success
Stage Two: Undisciplined Pursuit of More
Stage Three: Denial of Risk and Peril
Stage Four: Grasping for Salvation
Stage Five: Capitulation to irrelevance or Death

Although the stages sound so depressing, the reading is quite uplifting.

Looking forward to this mini series. And I’m looking forward to seeing Jim Collins present in person at the Gazelles Growth Summit in the fall.