If there is one management thinker who has spent a large part of his waking hours trying to figure out what really drives superlative corporate performance, it is Jim Collins. Over his career spanning 25 years, Collins has researched this overarching theme from every possible angle and the result of that is a series of co-authored books starting from Built to Last, Good to Great, How the Mighty Fall and Great by Choice. One of his most insightful contributions was the concept of Level 5 leadership that busted the traditional belief that CEOs have to be charismatic to deliver outperformance. Instead, it is leaders with humility and high professional will that make companies go from good to great. Why do some non-profits deliver and others don’t is his current area of interest and as our conversation gets underway, we soon learn that the avid rock-climber wants to start the interview with a few questions of his own. “What are you unquenchably curious about and passionate to understand in general?” After hearing us out, comes another question: “What do you think that we in the United States don’t understand about the way India works and the way Indian business works that we ought to understand.” With Jim’s questions dealt with, the interview, too, begins with a question that he is yet to write a book on but is probably best placed to answer.
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