Jim Collins: Relationships vs. Transactions [The Knowledge Project Ep. #110]

Renowned researcher and author Jim Collins makes his second appearance on The Knowledge Project, this time to share a wealth of life lessons learned from his mentor and collaborator, Bill Lazier. Jim recently released BE 2.0 (Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0), an ambitious upgrade of his first book Beyond Entrepreneurship, co-authored with Lazier and focused on effective leadership style. Shane discusses all new topics with Jim in their follow-up conversation, including what it means to be a mentor and a father, why we should trust by default, why we confuse living a long life with a great life, and the difference between being afraid of risk and being afraid of ambiguity.

Pair with episode 67- Jim Collins: Keeping the Flywheel in Motion

Here are a few highlights from the conversation:

And so that’s when this idea appeared: I’m going to create a personal board of directors and I’m going to put people on that board who I admire for their character. They’re the sorts of people I wouldn’t want to let down. So I drew a little diagram of a board table and I put seven seats around it.

We found that the 10X leaders had a much wider range of ability between slow, medium, and fast. Sometimes they made really big decisions quickly and some days they made really big decisions slowly and there didn’t seem to be a pattern. Often the comparison companies would act very quickly.

The moment that you introduce autopsies with blame, as opposed to autopsies without blame, the more you are going to begin to create an environment where it’s like, “Man, the upside downside here of making a decision is, you’ve got upside downside for the company.” It’s an agency problem, right? If everybody becomes indecisive, that’s bad for the company, but it might be very good for their careers.

And then it began to dawn on me. They’re taking on increased risk to reduce ambiguity. If you have a job, you know what you’re doing, right? It’s much less ambiguous. It’s the paint-by-numbers approach to life. Going out on your own is a blank canvas. It’s a lot more ambiguous. Where do I start? What colors do I use? What kind of painting do I want to make?

What we found makes a great flywheel, a great company, go is when you’ve got an incredible, replicable, scalable recipe as an overall corporate approach to the world. And you know how that works and you understand why it works and people can explain why it works.

Wait a minute, maybe you don’t see the whole situation. You’re jumping to a conclusion about why somebody is doing something. When actually, if you can see the hat, you feel forgiveness. What do you think it means to forgive? And do you find it harder to forgive yourself or to forgive others?

And so much more. It’s time to listen and learn.


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