Saturday, January 27, 2007

Creating a Pocket of Greatness

Moving from Good to Great isn't just for CEOs and corporate executives. Jim Collins offers a brief word of encouragement (2+ minutes) to create a pocket of greatness wherever you are or whatever you're doing...even if you don't have responsibility over the entire enterprise. He tells us about Roger Riggs, a high school science teacher who applied the Hedgehog principle to his work.

Jim Collins closes out with this bit of advice -

Take responsibility to make great, what you can make great....(and don't worry about the rest) .

Regardless of whether you subscribe to Jim Collins' Good to Great principles, the pertinent question is this - are you trying to create a pocket of greatness or have you settled for something less?

Artwork copyright JR Bell . Used with permission


Mark Goodyear said...

That's a big challenge. As a teacher it was easier to define the boundaries of my influence. I tried to make my class great.

Now that I'm in an 8-5 job, I try to be great during work hours. But I also have the particular projects that I want to be great. And I have trouble choosing.

So here's a question. How do you choose which projects to concentrate on making great?

L.L. Barkat said...

Mark... I think one thing is to go with passion, but another is to go with primary responsibility. I do think the bible supports both ideas.

Okay, so if one of my passions works best with my primary responsibilities, then that's the one I go with first.

For me, writing has worked that way. I don't think that a rigorous schedule of national speaking will. So, I choose to speak through blogging right now. Someday, when my kids are grown, I'll be in a stadium near you. :)

andre said...

Thanks for the comments!

Marcus, you're highlighting the reality of our limitations. It's great for Jim Collins to espouse the pursuit of greatness but most of us have to make choices because we're limited by time, resources, energy, etc... Given that we have to choose, I tend to think of what's most important...what's of eternal value...what really matters...what do I love. Is that the right way of thinking? I don't know. Perhaps LL will set me straight. :-)

LL, Your point about the bible supporting both passion and responsibility is an important one. It's always wonderful when both coincide. But what if they don't? Should we favor responsibility?

Can't wait for your nationwide speaking tour! By then, you'll be far too famous to spend your time commenting on an obscure blog like this. :-)

L.L. Barkat said...

I guess ideally the two converge. I think of Jesus' passion for us converging with his responsibility to do the will of the Father in Gethsemane. Neither his passion nor his responsibility could let him leave that garden, though he sorely wanted to.

I also suppose that the one who buried the talent just didn't have a passion for investment. But, he was expected to fulfill his responsibility. When he didn't...

andre said...


Your reply gave me an opportunity to think about my question. I think my question - "responsibility vs. passion" may be an inadvertent trick question. Inadvertent because I'm not clever enough to trick anyone but I think the question I posed introduces a false dichotomy.

Perhaps a better way to think about it is that God doesn't give us responsibilities without corresponding grace to discover the passion for it. God gives us responsibility for our children - he'll grant us the grace to be loving, joyful parents.

We may still need to seek him for the corresponding joy and passion for our responsibilities but we can trust him to provide.