May 27, 2005

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects--Think Big Act Small

By: Jack @ 3:51 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Think Big Act Small: How Americas Best Performing Companies Keep the Start-up Spirit Alive by Jason Jennings, Portfolio, 220 Pages, $24.95 Hardcover, May 2005, ISBN 1591840767
How do we learn? When you look at books like Good to Great and Its Not the Big that Eat the Small (Jason Jennings' first book which he co-wrote with Laurence Haughton), it is researching the heck out of what is a long term high performer. Then you research these companies to find out the secret of their success. It is especially exciting when you find companies that arent as big or well know as GE. What Jennings and his research team did was to look at 100,000 American companies and found nine companies that have increased revenue and profits by ten percent or more for ten consecutive years. The nine companies range from retailers like Petco and Cabelas, manufactures like Medline Industries, service companies like Sonic Drive-In, private education companies like Strayer and industrial giants like Koch Industries. Rounding out the nine are SAS, the software company, OReilly Automotive and DOT Foods.
What do all these companies have in common? You guessed it: they all Think big and act small.
In the book, each chapter focuses on a company and how that company handles one of the ten Building Blocks. The building blocks are:
1. Down to earth
2. Keep your hands dirty
3. Make short term goals and long term horizons
4. Let go
5. Have everyone think and act like an owner
6. Invent new businesses
7. Create win-win solutions
8. Choose your competition
9. Build communities
10. Grow future leaders.
The book is loaded with insight and easily applicable ideas for anybody interested in improving themselves and their company. I especially like the conclusion:
We live in interesting times. Complexity causes people to yearn for simple, profound ideas that can be readily related to diverse situations. People gravitate to confidence, decisiveness, and clear, powerful messages, searching for the ultimate metaphysical reference point. So we end as we begin, with this message: to guild an organization with balanced focus, camaraderie, and the ability to prosper over the long termthink big, act small.