Lead with questions, not answers.
Leading from good to great does not mean coming up with the answers and then motivating everyone to follow your messianic vision. It means having the humility to grasp the fact that you do not yet understand enough to have the answers and then to ask the questions that will lead to the best possible insights.
Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion.
All the good-to-great companies had a penchant for intense dialogue. Phrases like “loud debate,” “heated discussions,” and “healthy conflict” peppered the articles and interview transcripts from all the companies. They didn’t use discussion as a sham process to let people “have their say” so that they could “buy in” to a predetermined decision. The process was more like a heated scientific debate, with people engaged in a search for the best answers.
Conduct autopsies, without blame.
When you conduct autopsies without blame, you go a long way toward creating a climate where the truth is heard. If you have the right people on the bus, you should almost never need to assign blame but need only to search for understanding and learning.
Build “red flag” mechanisms.
There is no evidence that the good-to-great companies had more or better information than the comparison companies. None. Both sets of companies had virtually identical access to good information. The key, then, lies not in better information, but in turning information into information that cannot be ignored.
Jim Collins. “Good to Great.”