Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Jim Collins' Keynote - ASTD 2007

Jim Collins gave another great keynote at ASTD and hinted at his next book. He is doing research on companies that go from great to good. It sounds like it builds on his past research, but also will help organizations understand the stages of decline. Here is what I could pull from his presentation:

First a good quote.. His mentor John Gardner once said... "I want to grow and learn as much between the ages of 70 and 88 as I did between the ages of 0 and 12”

Collins opened up by telling stories about why learning is important: "Life is about being curious. To be surprise and to discover what we did not know." He also talked about his love of data.

His latest question:

How do companies fall.. midstream Why did one go from Great to good or worst.. What happens just before that company goes down..

Then he told one of his best stories ever.. His wife is a Iron Man Champion.. and a great athlete.
In August of 82, his wife was running up a hill dominating the hill while he walked.. He remember watching her run up the hill ahead of him, he was just able to walk at this point. She looked like the perfect specimen of health.. then in the fall.. she was diagnosed with breast cancer.. even when she was climbing the hill back in August.. the disease was in her body.. His main point:

When a company is in decline.. the disease is not visible.. Companies can appear to be in great shape, may be in decline.

Collins says there are 6 stages of decline.. Can you see a book coming.. :)

The decline does not show until stage 4 or 5. What is it you expect to see that you don’t.. complacent qualities does not show until late in the process No one is immune. There is good news: You can fall along way and still come back. You can come back from Stage 5. Those things that we found in good to great help you come back. I am guessing he will have more to say on this soon. He did not allow them to tape his talk.. and his slide on the 6 stages was up only a sec.. I couldn't even get the first one.. ughh.

He did leave us with lessons from his mentors.. Maybe if I can I will post those later..

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