Socratic advisor to leaders, focusing on what makes a business great and not just good; introduced five levels of leadership and the flywheel effect.
Ranked #41 in 2019.
#31 (2017), #28 (2015), #12 (2013), and #4 (2011).
Avid rock climber: completed single-day ascents of El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite Valley.
Passionate about working in social sectors, including education, healthcare and government.
Collins has introduced a range of new concepts and terms to the leadership lexicon. These include “level 5 leadership”, where leaders put the cause of their organization first, and inspired standards – rather than inspiring personality – become the motivation. He also created the “flywheel” principle of sustained momentum, demonstrating that the building of any human enterprise is not about one single defining action, or one killer innovation; instead, it is a process that resembles relentlessly pushing a giant, heavy flywheel, gradually building momentum.
Collins began his research and teaching career at Stanford Graduate School of Business. In 1995, he founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, where he conducts research and engages with CEOs and senior-leadership teams. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences and an MBA from Stanford University, and honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Colorado and the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. In 2012-13, Collins served as the Class of 1951 chair for the study of leadership at the US Military Academy, West Point. In 2017, Forbes selected Collins as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds.
Turning the Flywheel: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great (HarperBusiness, 2019); Turning Goals Into Results: The Power of Catalytic Mechanisms (HBR Press, 2017); Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck: Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (with Morten Hansen, HasrperBusiness, 2011); How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In (CL Business, 2009); Good to Great and the Social Sectors: Why Business Thinking is Not the Answer (HarperCollins, 2005); Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don’t (HarperBusiness, 2001); Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (with Jerry Porras, HarperBusiness, 1994).
“Collins inspired a generation of business leaders, and his work continues to resonate.”
Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50