What is a Great Organization?

Jim Collins gives a very helpful, succinct, and profound definition of a great organization in Good to Great and the Social Sectors:

A great organization is one that delivers superior performance and makes a distinctive impact over a long period of time.

So there are three characteristics of a great organization. They are:

  1. Superior performance
  2. Distinctive impact
  3. Lasting endurance

I think we ought to aim to build great organizations, and so it is helpful to have a good outline of what that means. It’s not enough to just say “we should seek to make our organizations great.” We need to know what that means. This is a good start.

Having this before us, though, also leads to more questions — such as “Why should you try to build something great?” and “How do you assess how your organization is doing on these qualities, especially when they are hard to measure?” I’ll address these questions in upcoming posts.

  • http://boldandgentle.blogspot.com Glenn Brooke

    Matt, thanks for this series of posts about great organizations. What I love about these three characteristics is that they apply well for all types of organizations — for-profit, civic, churches.