From good to great to gone


More on Jim Collin's five stages of decline from organizational greatness.

1. Hubris born of success Faith and confidence become pride and arrogance. Hard work and focus turns into a sense of entitlement to future success, "We're so great we can do anything!"

2. Undisciplined pursuit of more That is, more scale, more growth, more acclaim, more of whatever those in power see as `success' They stray from the disciplined creativity that led them to greatness in the first place. Abandonment of the hedgehog concept in favor of the rabbit's pursuit of quick gains.

3. Denial of Risk and Peril Now that you are chasing things that are not part of your core, you fail to see the problems or blame the problems on the outside world. In this stage you are blind to the brutal facts. Although internal warning signs begin to mount, they are ignored because external results remain strong enough to `explain away' disturbing data or to suggest that the difficulties are `temporary' or `cyclic' or `not that bad,' and `nothing is fundamentally wrong.

4. Grasping for salvation Often in the form of the silver bullet, such as a visionary leader. Attention is no longer on from the core and the flywheel, but on the quick fix. The cumulative signs of peril and/or evidence of risks-gone-bad force leaders to decide: return immediately to being and doing what achieved greatness before or the "grasp for salvation"? The longer a company remains in Stage 4, repeatedly grasping for silver bullets, the more likely it will spiral downward.

5. Capitulation to irrelevance or death The process of erosion and deterioration continues until either the leaders just sell out or the institution atrophies into utter insignificance; and in most cases, the enterprise simply dies outright. This is the terminus of the lifecycle and the one place you cannot recover from.

Having a think about how this paradigm relates to the lifecycle model of Ichak Adizes.