Entrenched myths, contrary findings.
From Great By Choice by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen. Copyright [c]2011 by the authors. Published by Harper Business (www. harpercollins.com).
The core of our analysis always rested on comparing the 1 OX cases--a 10X company beats its industry index by at least 10 times--to the comparisons across time and asking, What was different?" This method of inquiry proved particularly powerful for not only developing insights but also shattering deeply entrenched myths. In fact, many of the findings ran absolutely counter to our intuition. Here is a sampling of myths undermined by research.
Entrenched myth: Successful leaders in a turbulent world are bold, risk-seeking visionaries.
Contrary finding: The best leaders we studied did not have a visionary ability to predict the future. They observed what worked, figured out why it worked, and built upon proven foundations. They were not more risk taking, more bold, more visionary, and more creative than the comparisons. They were more disciplined, more empirical, and more paranoid.
Entrenched myth: Radical change on the outside requires radical change on the inside.
Contrary finding: The 10X cases changed less in reaction to their changing world than the comparison cases. Just because your environment is rocked by dramatic change does not mean that you should inflict radical change upon yourself.
Entrenched myth: Great enterprises with 10X success have a lot more good luck.
Contrary finding: The 10X companies did not generally have more luck than the comparisons. Both sets had luck--lots of luck, both good and bad--in comparable amounts. The critical question is not whether you'll have luck, but what you do with the luck that you
Jim Collins is a consultant and author or co-author of six books, including Good to Great and Built to Last (www.jimcoilins.com). Morten T. Hansen is a management professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and at INSEAD.