Great by Choice- Notes
1. Thriving in Uncertainty
a. Here is the question- Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?
b. The companies who were studies were referred to 10Xers- they thrived, rather than just got by.
c. The research shattered these deeply entrenched myths:
i. Successful leaders in a turbulent world are bold, risk-seeking visionaries
ii. Innovation distinguished 10Xers in a fast-moving, uncertain and chaotic world
iii. A threat-filled world favors the speedy; be quick or be dead
iv. Radical change on the outside requires radical change on the inside
v. 10Xers have a lot more good luck
a. They accept full responsibility for their own fate
b. They share the following traits:
i. Fanatic discipline (to stay on track)
ii. Empirical creativity (to keep them vibrant)
iii. Productive paranoia (to keep them alive)
iv. Level 5 ambition (for inspired motivation)
c. Fanatic Discipline is consistency of action- consistency with values, long-term goals, performance standards, methods, and consistency over time
d. Empirical Creativity is relying upon direct observation, conducting practical experiments and/or engaging with evidence rather than relying on opinion, whim, conventional wisdom, authority or untested ideas.
e. Productive Paranoia means staying hyper-vigilant in good times and bad and staying prepared.
f. Level 5 Ambition means ambitious for a purpose beyond yourself.
3. 20 Mile March
a. A good 20 Mile March has seven characteristics:
i. Clear performance markers
ii. Self-imposed constraints
iii. Appropriate to the specific enterprise
iv. Largely within the company’s control to achieve
v. A proper timeframe- long enough to manage, yet short enough to have teeth
vi. Imposed by the company upon itself
vii. Achieved with high consistency
4. Fire Bullets, then Cannonballs
a. A bullet is a low-cost, low-risk, and low-distraction test or experiment.
b. 10Xers use bullets to empirically validate what will actually work.
c. Based on that data, they then concentrate their resources to fire a cannonball, for larger returns from concentrated bets.
5. Leading Above the Death Line
a. I got the Everest analogy, but my aha moment in this chapter was on page 110- the table entitled Speed and Outcomes. This made sense to me.
b. Rapid change does not call for abandoning disciplined thought and disciplined action. It calls for upping the intensity to zoom out for fast yet rigorous decision-making and zoom in for fast yet superb execution.
c. Found that 10Xers took less risk than the comparison cases yet produced vastly superior results.
d. Found that 10Xers obsessed about what could go wrong- worst case scenario.
a. Specific, Methodical, and Consistent.
b. A SMaC recipe is a set of durable operating practices that create a replicable and consistent success formula; it is clear and concrete, gives clear guidelines of what to do and not to do.
c. Page 126-127- great example of SMaC recipe by Southwest Airlines
d. Far more difficult than implementing change is figuring out what works, understanding why it works, grasping when to change, and knowing when not to.
7. Return on Luck
a. Found that 10Xers were no more lucky or unlucky than the comparison cases.
b. The critical question is not “Are you lucky? but “Do you get a high return on luck (good and bad)?”
*Who Luck- the luck of finding the right mentor, partner, teammate, leader, friend- is one of the most important types of luck. The best way to find a current of good luck is to swim with great people, and to build deep and enduring relationships with people for whom you’d risk your life and who’d risk their lives for you.