According to this entry at InformationWeek, Jim “Good to Great” Collins recently hinted at some ideas that might be in his next book. The author of best-selling and thoughtful business books (normally an oxymoronic notion) posed the following question to an audience at SIMposium in Chicago:
“Why do some companies prevail against all odds, where others don’t? We’ll get back to you.”
Collins is, of course, musing about how companies survive things that their leaders couldn’t have expected. Like all good questions, said inquiry suggests still other questions, opens interesting avenues for inquiry, and is a source of useful metaphors & analogies. One of those analogies is provided by Collins himself:
[Collins] offered a vivid analogy for the state companies live in today: “We’re higher on the mountain. If you’re hit by a storm at 14,000 feet, you’ll probably be all right. If you’re hit by a storm at 26,000 feet on Everest, you’ll die.”
How well is this sort of thing being received? Remarkably so. According to InformationWeek, “At the end of his session, which included an hour presentation by Collins and more than an hour of discussion he led with three CEO-CIO teams, the still-packed conference room responded with a standing ovation.”
To anyone who has done any presenting, that is impressive stuff. Two hours on stage and then a standing ovation. Oh my.