‘Good to Great’ Author Collins: “Those Who Panic, Die On The Mountain”

Jim Collins, author of the top selling business books “Built to Last” and “Good to Great”, speaks with Fortune magazine about what it takes for companies to emerge from difficult periods in history. “A couple of things really jump out,” he says. “No. 1, in times of great duress, tumult, and uncertainty, you have to have moorings.” Highly successful firms have “incredible fabric of values, of underlying ideals or principles that explained why it was important that they existed.”

The video below is previous interview Collins had done on the Charlie Rose show and is worth listening to if you want to learn more about Collins and his insightful research on highly successful companies.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bR2Jlgg71Q&hl=en&fs=1]

In his recent Fortune interview, Collins says the other common factor shared by firms that have made it through troubled times is that they “understood that it was the caliber of their people that would get them through.” Collins’ research shows that “great companies manage for the quarter-century” and hire good people even during tough times. This is one of the key reasons they survive crises and prosper in the long term.

Collins, a rock climber, ends by adding that “the one thing you learn is that those who panic, die on the mountain. You don’t just sit on the mountain. You either go up or go down, but don’t just sit and wait to get clobbered.” To make it through periods like this, “you have to have the combination of believing that you will prevail, that you will get out of this, but also not be the Pollyanna who ignores the brutal facts. You have to say that we will be in this for a long time and we will turn this into a defining event, a big catalyst to make ourselves a much stronger enterprise.”

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