An executive asked my opinion about having his staff all read Good to Great by Jim Collins (2001).
It’s been years since I first read the book, one of many business books collecting dust in my library. When I went back to the list of companies used for research I saw some I knew hadn’t sustained their ‘greatness’. So I looked up their ticker symbols, and here’s the fate of the Not so ‘Good to Great’:
- Circuit City bankrupt, Fannie Mae in conservatorship, Wells Fargo bailed out by US Treasury.
- Only Nucor is really great, up over 400%.
- All others track with the rest of the pack (DJI)
- Abbott Laboratories (ABT)
- Circuit City
- Fannie Mae (FNMA)
- Gillette → Bought by P&G
- Kimberly-Clark (KMB)
- Kroger (KR)
- Nucor (NUE)
- Philip Morris (PM)
- Pitney Bowes (PBI)
- Walgreens (WAG)
- Wells Fargo (WFC)
So given the crummy performance, I have to wonder about the premises made that these companies, that had previously gone from good to great, had some special common characteristics or just random chance.