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IMG_7786It is now more than a month since I sat enthralled with thousands of other Australians listening to one of the worlds great business commentators – Jim Collins. Having consumed his books and been influenced by his insights into leadership and greatness, I wondered what would stand out for me as time moves on. His delivery style was authentic, and very grounded – he was happy to share stories about his personal life as well as his work.

It is with reflection that I share my insights from his keynote – if for no other reason than I will be able to refer to it myself in the future. These are the things I want to remember:

  • The greatest leaders find a way to have an impact not in some abstract way but in a real flesh and blood way.
  • Definition of purpose: how will some people’s lives be better and different because you were here.
  • Definition of success: that the person closest to me (The love of my life Stuart) respects me more and more as the years go by
  • Definition of luck: you did not cause it, has a significant consequence and there is an element of surprise .
  • Hard work can allow luck to show up more often.
  • Money is a means it is not the end. If it’s just about the money it can NEVER be truly great.
  • If you measure your success in money you always loose. Like breathing is to life…
  • A good BHAG is built from your deep sense of purpose not with bravado. It is not a wish or pulled out of the blue because it sounds good.
  • Rhythm will give life a sense of control – even if there is none. Routine will set you free. Doing the ’20 mile march’ every day get’s you where you want to be. Everyday.  Fanatical discipline delivers greatness.
  • Real happiness is about picking a really big goal and organizing your life around it.
  • Level five leadership is those who know its not about them and that an organization will thrive without them.
  • What could you best in the world at – creates possibility rather than limiting you to what are you the best in the world at.
  • Great lesson for all business – it is always about relationships not transactions.
  • Never ever ever dwell on past mistakes… Learn from them but move on .. Don’t dwell. The past is simply that – the past.
  • How do people relate to the window and the mirror. Those who blame versus take responsibility.
  • You can almost always pivot the question from the what to the who. Or not what actions should you do but who could help.
  • Compounding effect of playing every hand you’re dealt consistently over and over again will guarantee the outcome.
  • It’s not about luck it’s about what you do with luck- including relationship luck.
  • Luck favors the persistent.
  • A BHAG needs to be possible not probable.
  • Never underestimate the power of BIG things to do. A true BHAG owns you. If the goal is big enough you’ll feel inadequate.
  • Preserve the core (your deep purpose) and stimulate progress (change, growth opportunities).
  • Task is be a clock builder not a time teller If your business cannot be great without the founder then it’s not yet great.
  • Grateful and fearful is productive paranoia.
  • When success is coupled with arrogance is the first step to decline; arrogance to believe that the past will give us the future.
  • True definition of mediocrity is in fact inconsistency.
  • Consistent growth out performs fast growth every time.
  • Big does not = Great. Nor does Great = Big.
  • What makes a great life? Spending time doing things with the people we love.
  • Great leaders have humility. Combined with a stoic need to get things done…
  • Most people are not born as great leaders they become it to get what must be done, done. Leadership is a learned choice.
  • Leadership is about getting people to ‘want’ to do what must be done. Rather than ‘having’ to do it. It’s s form of artistry.
  • Leadership is when people have the choice not to follow otherwise it’s just power.
  • Most great leaders I’ve known have had a charisma bypass. Greatness is a conscious choice.
  • We cannot predict the future but we can create it.

Good is the enemy of great.

Thanks to Verne Harnish and the Growth Faculty for putting together the event.

Reader Interactions


  1. “Luck favors the persistent”…one we have lived by as we lived through the tumultuous seasons that we have journeyed through together as a couple growing a business together. Also, adaptation is key…in 2005 we had 35 music students…now we employ 35 music instructors…our role has transformed from “hands on care” of each student to “hands on care’ of each member of our teaching staff. We love the business we are in and we are moved and inspired as we have the opportunity to see creative confidence, skill, maturity and come come out of our students as they are guided by their teachers and growing in their instrument. Good is most definitely the enemy of great! Thanks Naomi!

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