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November 2011 Archives

Review: "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't"

good-to-great-pic-1.jpgGood to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't by Jim Collins is an excellent book that does a great job of describing how the author and his university team scientifically studied companies that went from "good" to "great" (hence the title) and stayed great for at least 15 years. These great companies managed to do so without being dependent upon any single charismatic leader (e.g., Lee Iacoca, Bill Gates) nor on any particular product or service that, for most vendors, everyone did great (e.g., computers) over a sustained 15-year period. Collins uses such criteria as consistently extraordinary stock returns over the years (at least 4.3 times the average market returns) as the yardstick for gauging a company's greatness. Over the 30-year period studied, only 11 companies "made the grade." This team of researchers studies what the company management did to go from good or average stock performance to become great, including by interviewing the leaders and many others involved in each company, and many other factors, and came up with a short list of clear, and clearly defined, principals, that every one of these best of the best performers all did. As someone fascinated by this topic, this book has impressed me more than any other I've read, and taught me more than any other, to the significant benefit of both me and my company. Of note also are the excellent comparisons in the book, and detailed analyses, of "control group" parallel companies - basically "on par" - average performance-wise - with each of the other companies that turned that proverbial corner, but that themselves failed to become great. I've read (and listened to on audio book) Good to Great several times, so I can and do highly recommend it to anyone, especially business owners. [Check out Good to Great by Jim Collins on] 

Why We're Not Having The Right Conversation About Poverty

Last week in this space, we quoted a column by syndicated columnists Cokie and Steve Roberts. The Robertses have a brilliant way of cutting through the noise of political chatter to get to the heart of the issues we face, and they've done so again in a column published Sunday about America's rising poverty levels.

When it comes to immigration, let's just stick to the Facts

I read a column earlier today by syndicated columnists Cokie and Steve Roberts that I think completely crystallizes the logical argument against the anti-immigration furor that has swept certain segments of our country. Let us never forget that the United States was founded on the spirit of entrepreneurship, and the idea that all who are willing to work hard to build something great are welcome. We often lose sight of this. We get caught up in ill-informed emotion, and it poisons the way we view what's really going on. That's why this column is such a worthwhile read (You can read it here.) - it comes armed with facts about immigration that completely undermine the xenophobic fantasy.The Robertses write, for example, that:"The hardheaded business owners Republicans claim to care about so much... They know the truth. Immigrants on both ends of the scale - from date pickers to data programmers - contribute enormously to America's economic well-being. If you are truly pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-business, you have to be pro-immigration as well."They go on to say:"Take Georgia, which passed a mean-spirited law this spring requiring employers to check the legal status of their workers against a federal database. So many farmhands fled the state that valuable fruit and vegetable crops were left to rot. Official estimates put the loss at $391 million, while 3,260 full-time jobs disappeared in food production, transportation and packaging. Those farmworkers are also taxpayers, young and healthy taxpayers who help finance programs such as Social Security and Medicare."Their point is clear and obvious: Politics traffic in emotion, not logic. We need to be more logical when forming our opinions about such important issues as immigration. Immigration is absolutely vital to the economic welfare of our country. To deny that this is so is unnecessary and destructive.Thank you for taking the time to consider this, and its John W. Redmann
Attorney for the Injured and Others who once trusted Insurers©
and Matt Stokes
Co-Author and Online Editor at Redmann Law 

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