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Good to Great and the Social Sectors

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  2,649 ratings  ·  165 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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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
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
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
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
John-Paul Pizzica
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
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
Joy Prior
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
Tyler Shinnick
This quick read really helped me organize my thinking about how to approach my new role in a non-profit. There isn't a ton of information that's not included in Good to Great, but Collins succinctly stated how those concepts should and should not be applied to the social sectors. The ideas you'll get about how to help your non-profit make the leap from good to great are definitely worth the half hour it takes to read this book.
'Good to Great and the Social Sectors' is brief. This means it's a quick read. But best to read it in conjunction with 'Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't'. Better yet, try to read both and create your own great mini-bus within your organisation.

Good luck. And please let me know how you go. May you understand your hedgehog and learn how to protect it!
Great read. Took the principles of Good to Great and made them much more applicable and relevant for those of us in the non-profit world. I really appreciated that he fleshed out and worked on how to apply the hedgehog principle to the social sector as it's hard to apply "profit per x" to a non-profit setting focused on grants and donations. Short and easy to apply.
Allison Armour-Garb
Collins lumps in government with not-for-profits, and in so doing misses an opportunity to analyze systemic barriers to greatness, such as the way our political system selects against "Level 5 leadership" qualities like humility, and the way civil service exam/list systems prevent agency heads from "getting the right people on the bus."
Val Sanford
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
Tyler Wishnoff
Collins examines how what makes a business great applies to areas not traditional seen as business. HIs findings promote the idea that greatness for any company does not rely on profit but impact and a core sense of purpose.
I count Collins' Good to Great among the best business books I've read; all five principles he elucidates are insightful and useful for pursuing excellence in leadership of any kind.

This monograph for the social sectors makes some good nuanced applications for social organizations, and it is worth the read for anyone who affirms the Good to Great principles and wishes to apply them to NFP enterprise.
Mehreen Kassam
Fantastic look at how the good to great principles apply in the social sectors - from churches to nonprofits. Must read for anyone in these sectors to organize their approach.
Sep 20, 2011 Denise rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Extends his work by applying it to the non-profit world.

(You don't need to have read prior work, but if you'd like some extra pointers on the theory, check out the author's website.)
Brendon Connelly
Super love Jim Collins' research and writing. Re-reading this because it is still awesome and I want to recapture some of these insights.
Jessica Coffin
This book CAN be read by those in the social sector without having to read the longer "Good to Great," but would be better with further explanation of some of the concepts.
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
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
an ok book that shows the difference between good and great in the businesses. easy boring book. I did not really enjoy it.
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
It's the piece that's missing when trying to extrapolate Good to Great to public libraries.
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.
Sep 22, 2008 Jeromy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone in a leadership role at a non-profit.
Recommended to Jeromy by: My boss's boss's boss
Very interesting read. I have not read the book this is supposed to accompany, "Good to Great", but now I feel Idon't have to. Seth Godin says that most business book contain a couple of pages of content and a couple of hundred of pages selling you on the content. This has much of the content of "good to great" and much less of the selling you on the content. At least as near as I can tell not having actually read "good to great."

Everyone involved with non-profits should read this book. Even if
Dan Shasserre
Inspirational solid recommendations from the pro. Jim Collins knows his stuff.
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
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good reminder for public servants 1 10 Dec 28, 2008 07:59AM  
  • Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High Impact Nonprofits (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership)
  • The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: The Four Disciplines at the Heart of Making Any Organization World Class
  • Managing the Non-Profit Organization: Principles and Practices
  • Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness
  • The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change
  • Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership
  • Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs
  • Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within
  • The One Thing You Need to Know: ... About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success
  • The Leadership Challenge
  • Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World
  • Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow
  • Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
  • Transforming Leadership
  • The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership-Powered Company
  • The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations
  • The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork: Embrace Them and Empower Your Team
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
More about James C. Collins...
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