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Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great
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Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  5,919 ratings  ·  268 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
Paperback, 36 pages
Published November 24th 2005 by Harper Business (first published 2001)
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 ·  5,919 ratings  ·  268 reviews

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May 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: work, non-fiction
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
Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jeff Elliott
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Mitchell Dixon
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Collins is amazing. He does so much research and speaks so clearly with practical steps to his theoretical knowledge of problems. So many amazing things to implement into ministry.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Appreciate the author taking an extra dive into how the business principles would apply to government and nonprofits, and wish more business authors did the same.
Steven Mandeville
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As someone who just moved into the "social sectors" from a for-profit world, this is an invaluable resource to help change lenses. ...more
Mai Phuong Nguyen
I am working in both business sector and social sector, and I can confidently say that this book is on point. It's short, well organized, and the concept is inspiring. It gives me new thoughts and ideas and perspectives on my preconceptions of business vs social. It added so much joy to my gloomy monday and inspired me to strive for greatness. Highly recommend this gem. ...more
Mark Robison
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 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
Asmik Sargsyan
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Quotes from "Good to Great and the Social Sectors" James C. Collins

•In the social sectors, money is only an input, and not a measure of greatness.
•A great organization is one that delivers superior performance and makes a distinctive impact over a long period of time.
•What if your outputs are inherently not measurable? The basic idea is still the same: separate inputs from outputs, and hold yourself accountable for progress in outputs, even if those outputs defy measurement.
•"But we cannot measu
Steve Watson
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A simple addendum to Collins' famous Good to Great, summarizing the main points and commenting on how they are relevant to work in the social sectors. Give that my whole career has been in public education and Christian ministry, I both appreciate this book's existence and appreciate Collins' point about the complexity of much social sector leadership. He notes that in the social sectors, it is less common than in business that leaders can lead merely by power and more common that we need to acc ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this short book. I read it for one of my graduate level courses, and knew I’d like it the moment I read the first line: “We must reject the idea—well-intentioned, but dead wrong—that the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become ‘more like a business.’”

Collins frames this short response book with this commentary. The book itself was written in response to social sector leaders who read “Good to Great” and pointed out differences between private and public sector orga
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read this as part of my role on the EPDSC Board. I've heard references to the full book before and haven't had a chance to read it. This definitely piqued my interest in learning more about the concept.

I really appreciated how the author delineated which ideas were based on his research and which were untested hypotheses he plans to study but for now can share anecdotal examples.

There were many good takeaways but one I can apply to my own work is the idea that there simply aren't always metrics
Muddy Floors
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book, I read early on in my management career. It was a great starting point to get the ‘jest’ of leadership and the ‘how to get people on your bus.’ Short, easy read, less than 50 pages; I would recommend this book to anyone getting into a team environment or embarking on a management role either in a non-profit or a business. The main points can be interchangeable in both avenues.
The biggest takeaway from this book was that progress is key, and quantifying that progress is the best measu
Lassarina Aoibhell
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, business
I touch on my thoughts on this monograph in my review of Good to Great, but basically I think it does an exceptional job of taking the already strong concepts in its parent book and applying them to the social sector.

From the viewpoint of 2017, I disagree with the inclusion of Bratten's NYPD as an example of "greatness" given disparities in policing behaviors and outcomes, but given the date this book was written and the change in social discourse between now and then, I find it understandable.
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a good book. Anybody that works in the public sector who wants to understand the different (from a management perspective) should read this book. This book gives insight on what makes a company good and what makes company's great.

The con's to this book is the public sector version is significantly shorter than the counter part of private business. The social sector book is roughly 35 pages making it a very short read. To be fair the 35 pages are well written and offer a different way of
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quick but effective

I read this book as an assignment in a Leadership class and I’m so glad I did! The title did not capture my attention, but the book was fascinating. I live the concept of Good to Great. Great companies have far more in common with Great social organizations than they do mediocre companies. I truly believe that no matter the organization, developing the qualities of greatness is always possible. It’s all in the attitude!
Ryan Barretto
It's an interesting idea to show how the corporate world and the social world are different, and what can be done to make the social sector successful.

I agree about the need for discipline, and some other points mentioned. What I couldn't help but feel was that there was something unnecessary. I'm not able to specify. I'm sharing the book with friends who work in the social sector, and will take their views too.
Peter Wolfley
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of the things I hear the most working in the public sector is that government should be run like a business. This book makes a great point that the choice ultimately isn't between business and non-profit, it's more about choosing to be a great organization and doing the things necessary to get there.
It's a shame this is such a short book because there are some real gems that should be explored further.
Robin Bittick
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book that applies principles from the author's book, Good to Great, to the public sector (i.e. government and non-profit service sectors). I found his understanding of the difference between the public and business sectors to be insightful.

This book can be read alone, or after his book, Good to Great.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you read and loved Good to Great but you are not in a business, then you should read this small book. This work is specifically targeted towards those who work in the social sectors like churches, non profits, and others. As a pastor in a church this work really helped me connect the dots between how I could apply Good to Great principles specifically to my area. This is a must read.
Louise Hindal
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dense. Interesting. Took me a while to process despite just being 34 pages. I really like how research based the original ideas were. I think I’ll likely read “Good to Great”; It might fill in a few gaps, although with how much this covered in 34 pages, I’m hopeful there is not too much repetition in a longer book.
Daniel Wong
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book made me think twice about what makes things great. They're a lot of things that are good but a few that separate the good from great. I am definitely guilty of applying a lot of good principles but not the great ones.

I enjoyed hearing from the people who led the change and their perspectives. It made me want to model some of their behaviors.
Dec 23, 2020 marked it as to-read
I really find value in this book. I read it when it first came out and in the decade or so since, have twice turned back to it for a pick me up. So practical, down to earth and helpful. Particularly for individuals and organizations that are reevaluating strategic direction toward realizing their mission-more than seeking to gain recognition for being great.
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
While this was an assignment for my doctoral courses, I really enjoyed it. It is a quick read, but I couldn't put it down. I am going to reread and take notes to share with coworkers.

Out of all the books I have been required to read this semester, this is by far my favorite and am glad it was required.
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I a big fan of Collin's work. He is logical, clear, and creates memorable principles that can easy be incorporated into nearly every work situation. I think he was a bit overly optimistic about getting the right people on the bus, but overall this was a worthwhile read. ...more
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
read during the London trip, this seems to be an extension of "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't", which I haven't read yet. Well structured when introducing the methods. ...more
Iain Hamill
My boss gave me this on CD to listen to so I deemed it prudent to do so!

Interesting concepts and perhaps more novel when first published - build your brand, aim for sustainability, get the right staff on board.

Sensible points almost to the point of common sense.
Jake Welchans
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent companion to the book. Working in the social sector, I find it invaluable when trying to gain clarity on what we should be doing to create a great organization or a "pocket of greatness" as JIm Collins would call it. Read the book first, but if you're in the social sector add this ASAP. ...more
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good reminder for public servants 1 10 Dec 28, 2008 07:59AM  

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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, including the classic BUILT TO LAST, wh

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