How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In is the latest book of Jim Collins. He is famous for his previous two books, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t
and Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.
In this book Collins addresses the questions: How do the mighty fall? Can decline be detected early and avoided? How far can a company fall before the path toward doom becomes inevitable and unshakable? How can companies reverse course?
Collins in his research has found that the decline goes through 4 phases:
Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success
Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More
Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril
Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation
Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death
but there is hope, even in stage 5, companies can recover and get back to success. Here the inspiring conclusion of the book:
Never give in. Be willing to change tactics, but never give up your core purpose. Be willing to kill failed ideas, even to shutter big operations you have been in for a long time, but never give up on the idea of building a great company. Be willing to embrace the inevitability of creative destruction, but never give up on the discipline to create your own future. Be willing to embrace loss, to endure pain, to temporarily lose freedoms, but never give up faith in the ability to prevail. Be willing to form alliances with former adversaries, to accept necessary compromise, but never – ever – give up on your core values.
The path out of darkness begin with those exasperatingly persistent individuals who are constitutionally incapable of capitulation. It’s one thing to suffer a staggering defeat – as will likely happen to every enduring business and social enterprise at some point in history – and entirely another to give up on the values and aspirations that make the protracted struggle worthwhile. Failure is not so much a physical state as a state of mind; success is falling down, and getting up one more time, without end.
And the back cover of the book:
Whether you prevail or fail, endure or die, depends more on what you do yourself than on what the world does to you