CHAPTER 7JIM COLLINS

ON THE SEARCH FOR EXCELLENCE AND THE MANAGEMENT OF ALTERNATIVES

Jim Collins’s books are full of common sense. Even if he collects masses of facts and data in his quest to define excellent companies, his work is never overly academic. It is quite empirical and provides readers with really useful inspiration.

The title of his bestseller Good to Great1 gives a good clue as to its theme: how companies and individuals can strive to approach excellence. Millions of copies have been sold. Collins’s first book, Built to Last, has also stood the test of time and one of its chapters has become particularly famous. That chapter deals with the difficulty of deciding between two options posed as alternatives. It’s about what he calls the “Tyranny of the Or.”2

The world has obviously changed a lot since Collins wrote these two books, but they both remain as relevant as ever. Collins’s thinking has not aged.

Good to Great

Our Los Angeles agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, is where Apple’s great advertising campaigns have been born since we started working for Apple, in 1983. The agency’s founder, Jay Chiat, used to love to say “Good enough is not enough.”3 This credo had such an impact that it has been progressively taken up by the entire TBWA organization. It may not seem like much, but referring to it constantly—whether while developing a strategy or imagining a campaign—makes it a constant challenge. In today’s marketing world, where the motto is often “Cheap, fast, and good ...

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