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Book Review - How the Might Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In

Jim Collins is a best selling author of a number of books including Good to Great.  His books are always well researched and very readable.  How the Might Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In is a must read for every project manager and corporate executive.  Mr. Collins basic premise is that early signs of decline are hard to see, like the early signs of cancer, but easier to deal with.  But later signs of decline, while more obvious, are much harder to treat.  He lays out the stages of decline as:

  1. Hubris Born of Success
  2. Undisciplined Pursuit of More
  3. Denial of Risk and Peril
  4. Grasping for Salvation
  5. Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

Not only does Mr. Collins include examples of companies going thru each of these stages and how some succeed in recovering from each stage but companies that do not.  In most cases recovery from decline is dependent on management, especially the CEO, being very disciplined about the business and company basics.  That tends to mean not engaging in a flashy silver bullet solution but the hard work of doing the right core business things working again.

If you are a leader of any organization, for profit or non-profit, I would highly recommend reading this book.  And then ask yourself where your organization stands within the five stages.

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