The Leadership Summit in Atlanta, was billed as Jim Collins‘ last public keynote before he went into the public or military sector, and since I had a speaking engagement in Hawaii two days beforehand, it was perfect timing to attend.

Here’s what I learned from Jim Collins – who is considered the greatest business mind alive.


“The Number One executive skill is the ability to pick the right people, put them in the right seat and hang on to them.”


True discipline is the alignment to the standards that are your core values, BHAG and purpose.

People in the culture of discipline have responsibilities, not jobs.


  • Level 5 Leadership (the highest level) is about them, not you.
  • Be interested, not interesting.
  • Truly aspire to the dumbest person in the room.
  • Confront the brutal facts but always have unwavering faith that you will prevail despite the facts. This is known as the Stockdale paradox.
  • Be in service of a cause or a purpose more enduring than ourselves!


Disciplined leadership is managing for the quarter. Century.


Like parenting, it’s what you do in the formative years that dictates whether you’ll be great!


Pioneers and innovators are not the winners. You need to be at the threshold (innovative enough), but not the most innovative. ¬†Once you’re at that threshold, blend discipline and creativity. ¬†Creativity is natural and abundant, discipline is not.

Scale is more important than innovation. Scaling with discipline is the challenge.


A ‘20 mile march’ is a term to describe having consistent growth goals, regardless of market conditions. That means having the discipline of not over-exerting when times are prosperous and grinding it out when times are tough.

The reverse of this is that chronic inconsistency = mediocrity.


Luck can be good or bad. You cannot predict it, but you know ‘luck’ will happen to you. Therefore the challenge is to get “Return of Luck” – regardless of whether it is good or bad luck.

Toby Jenkins, Jim Collins & Adam FranklinIt was a real thrill to meet Jim Collins after his keynote. And thanks also to Verne Harnish for organising the Leadership Summit.


Business, Jim Collins, Leadership

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