Jim Collins' Great by Choice is another classic in the making. After Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall, Collins' latest book examines what defines greatness in times of turmoil and instability. 10Xers are those that lead organizations to greatness. Yet these traits and skills are also habits that can be learned and possessed over time. Through rigorous research into companies, Collins and his research team reveals three concepts which distinguishes performers that excel above the rest. Collins' findings correlate closely with his earlier research. Hard work, persistence, low maintenance, and high quality work all pervade heavily in the ingredients to success.
1. 20 Mile March - Requiring great consistency and discipline over a long period of time, delivering high performance in difficult times, and holding back in good times. Much more than philosophy, the march is about having concrete, clear, intelligent and rigorously pursued performance mechanisms that keeps one on track. Think of climbing a mountain every day at 20 mile intervals, despite the weather, despite the conditions. The maxim "never too high, never too low" is concisely the point here.
2. Fire Bullets, Then Cannon Balls - Success is never a single-step creative breakthrough when in fact, it comes about as a multistep iterative process based more upon empirical validation than visionary genius. The idea of bullets is to make small ventures -- small steps -- and learn from potential mistakes, before firing the "cannon balls."
3. Productive Paranoia - Success is never complacent. As a result, 10x'ers prepare obsessively ahead of time, all the time, for what they cannot possibly predict. They assume that a series of bad events can happen at anytime; it's what one does before a storm hits that matters most. While one cannot predict more than 1% of when a disaster will strike, one can comfortably be assured with 100% certainty that disaster will strike at any time. Therefore, one must be ready at all times.