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Good to Great and the Social Sectors

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  3,851 Ratings  ·  202 Reviews
Building upon the concepts introduced in Good to Great, Jim Collins answers the most commonly asked questions raised by his readers in the social sectors. Using information gathered from interviews with over 100 social sector leaders, Jim Collins shows that his "Level 5 Leader" and other good-to-great principles can help social sector organizations make the leap to greatne ...more
Audio CD, unabridged, 2 pages
Published December 12th 2006 by HarperAudio (first published 2001)
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May 12, 2012 Ensiform rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, work
A monograph to accompany Collins’ Good To Great (which I haven’t read). The underlying principle of this “missing chapter” is that we don't need to impose the language of business on the social sector, but develop a language of greatness. He does this by focusing on five issues that he used in the book and tweaking them for a different mission and context.

The first is Defining Great (How do we calibrate success without business metrics?). Instead of money being an output, as it is in the busines
Jeff Elliott
Nov 28, 2012 Jeff Elliott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership, must-buy
Extensive quotes from the book:

Five questions which form the framework of this piece:
1. Defining "Great"--Getting Thing Done without Business Metrics
2. Level 5 Leadership--Getting Things Done within a Diffuse Power Structure
3. First Who--Getting the Right People on the Bus within Social Sector Constraints
4. The Hedgehog Concept--Rethinking the Economic Engine without a Profit Motive
5. Turning the Flywheel--Building Momentum by Building the Brand
pg. 3

A great organization is one that delivers supe
Sep 02, 2010 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
This was a fabulous little monograph that explains the "Good to Great" principles applied in the social sectors. "Our work is not fundamentally about business; it is about what separates great from good." We need to define "great" and measure it and collect evidence in some way, have good leadership and get things done in a diffuse power structure, get the right people on the bus, rethink the economic engine, and build momentum for the brand. A part of this is considering:
1. What are you deeply
Apr 02, 2008 Stacie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: non profit boards and managers
Shelves: business-books
To quote a brilliant former colleague, "Jim Collins makes me swoon." I've read and reread this booklet 3 different times, and I pick up something new every time. Its refreshing to look at a different paradigm from someone who gets that the work of non profits is not defined by the financial statement, but by the impact of the work. This is not earth shattering or new by any means, but its a damn good reminder of why we exist and how to start to think so we can go from being mediocre non profits ...more
Mark Robison
Jan 29, 2016 Mark Robison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very short book — more like a really long blog post — aimed at people who loved "Good to Great" but are in the social sector and thus do not have profits by which to measure success. Again, he's got a few amazing real-life stories to illustrate the merits of his program for going from good to great, such as with the Cleveland symphony. He admits the topic deserves a full book but says it'll take 10 years to do and so this is a stopgap meant to answer the most common questions he's received fro ...more
Joe McFadden
Jul 26, 2016 Joe McFadden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

How do social sector organizations ‘calibrate success without business metrics,’ ‘get things done within a diffuse power structure,’ ‘get the right people on the bus within social sector constraints,’ rethink the economic engine without a profit motive,’ and ‘build momentum by building the brand?’ (3)

If we only have great companies, we will merely have a prosperous society, not a great one. Economic growth and power are the means, not the definition, of a
This book explains very briefly how to go from being that good manager to that great manager. Tim Collins had listed 5 steps to go from good to great. Each step lists a real life scenario that explains in detail how someone who works in the social sector has implemented said step to make the step from good to great. It was very interesting to read just how different and yet how similar business and social sector jobs can be. Even though social sectors do not use money as an output like businesse ...more
Just 35 pages, and some interesting perspective on businesses built and run within the "social sector". Including non-profit and governmental organization types, this piece is explained clearly enough to make me want to seek out more of Collins' books, although I am not a business entrepreneur in the traditional sense.
Brandon Schexnayder
Jim Collins does great work. "Good To Great" is an incredible book that transcends business. This little add on was a must read in addition to the original, as it takes the principles one step further, illuminating the nature of the principles in great organizations that don't have money as it's core drive.
Paul Bergelin
As a public sector employee, I was eager to read how Collins would modify his seminal text to address the challenges of running what I will broadly characterize as "social sector" organizations. Collins acknowledges from the onset that he could not utilize the same rigorous methodology that yielded the businesses featured in Good to Great. Although it contains kernels of useful advice, several aspects of what he discusses in this monograph seems inadequate to support his framework from greatness ...more
Cathy Allen
Sometimes I like to argue with authors, often scribbling “yeah, but…” comments across the margins of their books. Other authors make such tight, well-researched cases for the points they make, they are hard to argue with. Jim Collins is in this last category. A business professor, Collins’ books are reports on in-depth university studies about his subjects. Built to Last and Good to Great have become essential business reading.

(I did a two-page summary of Good to Great a while back. You can find
Bailey Urban
Mar 01, 2015 Bailey Urban rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I have not read Good to Great, I knew this 'monograph' would have particular relevance to working in higher ed. It certainly did, and I learned about the odd comparison of businesses versus social sector institutions. I loved how it started out saying people compare these institutions to businesses unfairly... because they compare them to good companies, not generally great companies. So trying to imitate simply good companies is not a good strategy. I think I will eventually have to read ...more
Feb 06, 2015 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great is Jim Collin’s extensive response to the FAQs in Good to Great which addresses the differences between business and those who work in the social sector concerned more about instilling social and cultural change than pocketing a profit. This book is basically a stand alone entity which revisits many of the core conclusions of Good to Great. In other words, one could read this without having read Good to Great and be jus ...more
Recently, my Manager and I had the opportunity to attend an event that Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children and Me to We attended. After the presentation my Manager and I were thoroughly engaged and wanted to brainstorm about ideas to engage the rest of the staff in order to encourage participation in a "day of service".

My Manager than pulled out this book that she has received during her volunteer days on a local board. She encouraged me to read it as she knew I had previous exper
Dec 31, 2014 John-Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: development
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have not read this author's original book Good to Great but I still felt that this monograph had some good takeaways for those of us in the social sectors. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of getting the right people "on the bus," as I have been thinking about this ever since a previous job at a non-for-profit that could not retain its workforce to save its life. Unlike most of the other social sector organizations discussed in this work (police departmen ...more
Michael W.
Aug 30, 2016 Michael W. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short addendum to Collins' bigger book, "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't". This 36 page monograph takes much from the larger book and applies those principles to the not-for-profit sector. In doing so the author makes some important observations, especially how business and the non-profit environments are distinctly different. "We need to reject the naïve imposition of the "language of business" on the social sectors, and instead jointly embrace a language of g ...more
Joy Prior
Sep 19, 2012 Joy Prior rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book, and I was not expecting to. Usually, when I read books about how to obtain success I roll my eyes the whole time. I mean really, really, if you learned that other people like to talk about themselves from a business-help-you-book then not only must your business need help but I would suggest picking up a self-help-book too. Yet, I was completely impressed with Good-to-Great and the Social Sectors because the author Jim Collins emphasized the importance of system outline/goal fo ...more
Val Sanford
Oct 23, 2011 Val Sanford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philanthropy
Be prepared to shake up your thinking! Defining your hedgehogs, priming the flywheel, and getting the right people on the bus are only part of the success equation for great companies and great social organizations.

In this monograph Collins spells out how to go for greatness by focusing on outcomes not inputs and helps clarify the challenge of defining non-monetary outcomes. What does it mean to empower middle-school girls? how do you know you've succeeded at being a world-class orchestra?

The i
Chinarut Ruangchotvit
This is the missing chapter of Good to Great perfect for social entrepreneurs - you'll read it in less than an hour. Jim adapts the notion of the hedgehog concept to being driven by a "resource engine" opposed to an economic engine. Power is decentralized in this sector - tools like crowdsourcing and self-organization come to mind - he talks about how executives frequently fail to transition from typical "command" structures. Jim begins an inquiry around what it means to measure "success" and hi ...more
This is definitely a book I could pick up many times. I 100% agree that nonprofits should not be treated as if they just need to suck it up and mirror the corporate world, while at the same time Collins reframes the argument to think that its isn't about business or social sector cultures/practices--it is about daring to be great. For the social sector world this isn't about making profits, but, though harder to define, is about having a passion to make a deference for the better, being the best ...more
Charlotte Osborn-bensaada
A very slim monograph to be read in conjunction to Collin's main book. It expands your understanding of the flywheel within the social sector by expanding several ideas, executive leadership versus legislative leadership and the the economic circle within a BHAG. Primarily it builds on the idea that input are not just money, but volunteers and brand. The brand issue is an interesting one because he points to the idea that you need to be the only or nearly the only source of that benefit within a ...more
May 13, 2016 Derek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
* Quick read (60 pages) and well worth it
* Anyone who works in non-profit motivated work (government, education, customer service, should read this book
* I found it summarized the challenges of my workplace to a tee and illustrated the differences between "strictly for profit" organizations/divisons and other less profit driven orgs
* Excellent companion to Good to Great or a great alternative if you don't have time to get through the full Good to Great book
* Every anecdote in the book hits its d
Aug 01, 2009 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any business leader who has also read Good to Great
Shelves: business
I don't know why I didn't read this book sooner. It really is a good companion to Good to Great. Even though the book was written for the social sectors, I think it would also be a useful tool for a lot of business leaders in the corporate sector. As Collins notes, many business leaders serve on nonprofit boards and find it difficult to translate what they've learned in the private sector to a social sector enterprise. I also found that understanding how Good to Great's principals can be applied ...more
Apr 25, 2008 Aronkai rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading Jim Collin's book “Good to Great and the Social Sectors”. He focuses on his book to five issues which are,
1. Defining “Great” - Calibrating Success without Business Metrics.
2. Level 5 Leadership – Getting Things Done within a diffuse Power Structure
3. First Who – Getting the Right People on the bus within Social Sector Constraints
4. The Hedgehog Concept – Rethinking the Economic Engine without a Profit Motive
5. Turning the Flywheel – Building Momentum by Building the Brand.(Co
I read this book because I hoped to learn what it takes to move an organization from being a "good" organization to a "great" organization. Jim Collins focuses on businesses, but I think many of his ideas are applicable to the world of education. Ideas such as level 5 leadership, getting the right people on the bus and the right people off the bus easily translate to schools. But the challenge for me is that I'm in a position of limited influence of my school. I'm not the principal driving the b ...more
Feb 12, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2013
I don't even know if you can call this supplement to Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't a "book"-- it's more of an extended pamphlet or stand-alone external appendix. Either way, Collins packs a lot into a mere thirtyfive pages, creating a really useful tool in helping to translate and apply the principles in the original book from a corporate context into the social sector of non-profit organizations.
Leo Romero
Nov 25, 2007 Leo Romero rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Two indicators that Mr Collins hadn't put much thought into this: (1) The "bus" analogy ("getting the right people on the bus") is uncannily bad. Organizations are not like buses. Only the bus driver drives the bus, and it doesn't much matter who gets on it. (2) The "hedgehog" analogy (the book’s "pivot point"), is similarly odd. Tough for a hedgehog to represent "piercing clarity" when he's all balled up, and the closest thing to his eyes is his ass.

My favorite laugh line from the book: "That’s
Feb 23, 2013 Tuyet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book builds on the principles from Good to Great by focusing on five issues that distinguish company in "social sectors" from for-profit companies. I thought the concepts here (calibrating metrics, understanding a diffuse power structure, personnel constraints, redefining resources beyond money, and brand recognition) were relevant and insightful--though I would have liked to see some more exposition on the concepts with specific examples. This book though is valuable and I plan to reread G ...more
Aug 26, 2011 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has been on my shelf for years, but since I was so aquainted with Good to Great, I didn't put much importance on reading the piece on The Social Sector. Mistake. Some great learnings here, not with the heavy research that went into Good to Great, but concepts about foundational drivers of social organizations that are very valuable to funders, board members and of course employees of nonprofit or public organizations, or even corporate social responsibility functions within corporation ...more
Bickety Bam
A lot has happened since the book was written in 2001. While the theory of what makes a good company may be valid, it's interesting to see what has happened to some of the "great" companies since then. With the hindsight of the financial meltdown, it's especially fun to see all the praise for the "financial innovations" put forth by Fannie Mae. There's a company that really turned out to be great! On the other hand, Wells Fargo, also touted in the book, did do better than most through the crisis
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good reminder for public servants 1 10 Dec 28, 2008 07:59AM  
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  • Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership
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  • Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Getting Results
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  • The One Thing You Need to Know: ... About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success
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  • Self Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Self Leadership
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Jim Collins is a student and teacher of enduring great companies — how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies. Having invested over a decade of research into the topic, Jim has authored or co-authored four books, i
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“If we only have great companies, we will merely have a prosperous society, not a great one. Economic growth and power are the means, not the definition, of a great nation.” 7 likes
“A culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.” 1 likes
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