March 15


What you could learn from ‘Turning the Flywheel’ by Jim Collins (2019, 37 pages)

How do great companies succeed? What drives exponential growth in some companies and not others? In his book ‘Turning the Flywheel’ Jim Collins builds on his earlier work (Good to Great, How the Might Fall and Built to Last), and suggest that these great companies have managed to identify a series of reinforcing steps which when taken together build a self-reinforcing cycle or flywheel.

Here at the top tips from the book

“There is no single defining action, no grand program, no single killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment … rather, it feels like a giant, heavy flywheel.”

If you were going to be kicked out from your job/company, what would the next person do? (i.e., would they be in the same business?)

Steps to capture your flywheel:

  1. List your big successes
  2. List your failures
  3. Compare them and work out what was the difference
  4. Sketch your flywheel, you must be able to explain why each step follows the next
  5. Keep it six or less
  6. Test the flywheel against your successes and failures
  7. Test your flywheel against what you are passionate about, what you can be the best in the world at, what drives profit

Flywheel momentum most often stalls due to poor execution, abandoning the flywheel, or failing to renew and expand the flywheel. Other lessons from ‘How the Mighty Fall’:

  • Hubris born of success
  • Undisciplined pursuit of more
  • Denial or risk or peril
  • Grasping for salvation
  • Capitualtion to irrelevance

Discipline is essential. It means you need fewer rules and hierarchy. When combined with passion and entrepreneurship it is very powerful. Discipline mean:

  1. Disciplined people (level five leaders, personal humility and indomitable will, where ambitious is for the cause)
  2. Disciplined thought (think and not or, confront brutal facts, stick to your principles – deep passion, what you can be best at, what you can make a profit on)
  3. Disciplined action (focus on the flywheel and each of the steps, and keep going, fire bullets not cannonballs)
  4. Built to last (be paranoid, build systems that build great products, not great products, preserve your identity, double down on success, make a unique contribution to the world, build future leaders)

This is a phenomenally good book. Read this book if you want to get a great insight into how great companies have succeed, as well as tips on how to make your organisation succede.

You can by The Flywheel on Amazon UK at the following link

You can find more at Jim Collins website at the following link