• Books I have read in 2010: 1

    Good to Great

Level 5 Leadership

I read Good to Great by Jim Collins a week or so ago and I am really enjoying diving in and wrestling through the principles.  It may be the most challenging leadership and business book I have read so far as there is a lot of meat and data to chew on.  I am meeting weekly with my boss and mentor, Debbie, to discuss these principles.

Level 5 Leadership can be summed up as leadership that balances both humility and ambition.  Level 5 Leaders have the resolve to make extremely radical decisions and stand behind them no matter what others might say.  Ultimately those decisions lead to great success for the organization first, the leader second (although the leader would deflect this success to those around him/her and at best classify there good fortune as luck).  Collins actually provides a graph that provides the Level 5 Hierarchy (pg 20):

LEVEL 5 – LEVEL 5 EXECUTIVE: Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.
LEVEL 4 – EFFECTIVE LEADER: Catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision, stimulating higher performance standards.
LEVEL 3 – COMPETENT MANAGER: Organizes people and resources toward the effective and effecient pursuit of predetermined objectives.
LEVEL 2 – CONTRIBUTING TEAM MEMBER: Contributes individual capabilities to the achievement of group objectives and works effectively with others in a group setting.
LEVEL 1 – HIGHLY CAPABLE INDIVIDUAL: Makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills, and good work habits.

If I had to provide a fair assesment of where I am at currently I would have to put myself at Level 3, with occasional flashes of what it could look like if I were able to attain Level 4 and/or 5.  Level 5 is certainly the bar I have set for myself.  Without it I will be unable to accomplish my personal goals in life. 

I am reminded of and motivated by Paul’s words in Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)

 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Level 5 Leadership is the standard that Collins and his team measured corporate leaders against and I have to agree with their assessment.  I am eager to process through the remaining principles in Good to Great as I believe the application of those principles will contribute to becoming a Level 5 Leader.

APPLICATION: As I continue to push myself to grow in this area, here is a list of questions that I challenge myself with as I sift through the remainder of this book.  I try to revisit this list every few days to keep my eye on the prize that I am pursuing.

  • Where am I at within the “Level 5 Hierarchy”?”
  • What will it take to achieve Level 5?
  • Do I have what it takes to get to Level 5?
  • On any given day, what is the gutsiest move I could make at Dare 2 Share that would position us for success?
  • When it comes to credit do I look through the window or into a mirror?
  • When it comes to blame do I look through the window or into a mirror?
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