Friday Book Review (On Sunday): Built To Last
Ian Lurie Dec 16 2007
Yup, a couple days late. I was out sick (missing my second consecutive company Christmas party).
I just finished Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t. I read it after seeing how thought-provoking the book was for SEOMoz’s Rand Fiskin.
It’s not a book about internet marketing. Not directly. But we work in an emerging industry, and the teachings in this book could make the difference between the agencies that make money, then pass on when their leaders leave, and those that grown and thrive for decades.
I found it to be a brilliant, sobering, sometimes slightly frustrating read. Valuable lessons learned:
- I’m not crazy. The most successful leaders don’t work 90 hour weeks. They’re fantastic delegators, work at full speed while at the office, but their families remember what they look like.
- It’s OK to dream of building a company that will outlive you.
- Clear communications to your management team are a must. They have to know you, inside-out, even if that’s sometimes uncomfortable.
- Hire for smarts and a great fit, not to fill a position (first who, then what). I’ve been criticized for this in the past. Now I can feel a little smug :).
- I don’t have a Hedgehog Concept yet. You’ll have to read the book to learn that one.
- There are no ‘miracle moments’. Companies don’t suddenly flare into greatness. They get there a brick at a time.
As a historian, I would’ve liked to have learned more about the leaders they researched: Their quirks, their foibles, and what they had to overcome to make their companies great.
But it’s a fantastic book. Anyone who wants to lead an enduring organization should read it.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More