Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Good to Great to Gone

I read a new book - Good To Great to Gone - the 60 Year Rise and Fall of Circuit City by Alan Wurtzel.  One of the special things about this book is Alan Wurtzel was actually CEO for 13 years until 1986. 

I did a lot of business with Circuit City and their competitors over the years so the book was close to home.

 In 2009, Circuit City went bankrupt after an amazing 60 year run.

I liked the second chapter which spoke of the culture and values in the early days that created success.

The author has come up with an excellent list of lessons from Circuit city which he calls "habits of mind".  Things like "be humble - run scared" and "Keep it simple and accountable" and "mind the culture".  The book is probably worth reading just for that list.

The first section is called "the Good" - 1949 to 1970.  Then "Almost gone" 1971-1977.  Then "the Great Years" 1978 to 2000.  And then of course 2001-2009 - Gone (as is often the case, it took a long time to be gone).

There is an expression some self help people push "Craziness is doing the same thing and expecting different results".  They are making the assumption that you are not where you want to be so need to change.  My variation on this for successful people and successful companies is "Do what you always have done and you will go bankrupt".  Environment and the world changes so we need to also.

Good is the enemy of Great.  If we are doing good (sorry about the grammar mom), we do not need to change and therefor cannot become great.  Great may be the enemy of survival.

Perhaps the problem is being great.  I always figured if anyone thinks they have arrived, they begin to decline. 

Anyways - awesome book.


And Josh (my grandson) continues to grow and is beginning to talk although I am still much better at it than he is.


At 8:54 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Excellent lessons in leadership: how to build a great company, and how to destroy one in short order. By the way, "Good to Great to Gone" is available on Amazon or through the book's web site, www.circuitcitythebook.com.

At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Mike Golde said...

Agree with your point regarding having "arrived" and offer as evidence the release date of Good To Great - October 2001. Interesting that Mr. Wurtzel pegged the decline as starting a year earlier. I am eager to read the book and find out why.

At 10:10 PM, Anonymous BBA student said...

yes time is not going to be good or great or bad always.
One should identify when to say quit.
thanks for recommending the book


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