The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve

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Level 5 Leader

Author Jim Collins (2005) in his article, Level 5 Leadership: The triumph of humility and fierce resolve (Collins, 2005), presents a compelling evidence for the need to have what he describes as “Level 5 leadership” at the helm, in order for organizations to reach high performance status (Collins, 2005). Collins stated that “Level 5” refers to the highest level in a hierarchy of executive capabilities that were identified during our research (Collins, 2005, p. 138). However, the original intent of Collins research was based on his pursuit to identify if a good company can become a great company (Collins, 2005). How Collins reached the concept of the Level 5 Leader can be linked to his research methods and findings.

With 22 research associates at hand, Collins (2005) “set out to answer one, question: Can a good company becomes a great company and, if so, how?” (Collins, 2005, p. 139). To identify the companies he would research it appeared that Collins needed to make certain the organizations level of success was identified from a credible source. To achieve this, Collins selected to investigate companies noted as Fortune 500 companies from 1965 to 1995 (Collins, 2005) . In doing so, his foundational research approach was established. Through more analysis the final group described as good- to- great companies was narrowed down to 11 companies. “Those that made the cut averaged cumulative stock returns 6.5 times the general stock market for the 15 years after the point of transformation” (Collins, 2005, p. 139). In his attempt to rule out any issues with sustainability, the research identified companies that had obvious change, but the change did not last (Collins, 2005). These companies ended up being cut from the final group. Collins included both qualitative and quantitative method for this research to get through the final stretch (Collins, 2005). The researchers analyzed data, reports, and conducted interviews (Collins, 2005).

Eleven companies meet the standards of a good to great company (Collins, 2005). The article noted that, “Level 5 easily made it into the framework as one of the strongest, most consistent contrasts between the good-to-great and the comparison companies” (Collins, 2005, p. 139). Meaning that, the organizations identified as good-to-great had leaders at the helm that met Collins definition of a Level 5 Leader. He describes then as a leader who “Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical combination of personally plus professional will” (Collins, 2005, p.

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