Jim Collins On Making Decisions Part 2

Today’s post is The Producer’s Point of View from our EntreLeadership Podcast producer Chris Mefford on part two of my interview with Jim Collins.

His newest book is entitled Great by Choice, and that’s pretty much what we think of best-selling author Jim Collins. Jim has spent his career learning how and why good companies turn into great ones, and he’s shared that knowledge with the world. He’s a rock star, and we were thrilled when he agreed to be a guest on the EntreLeadership podcast.

In our interview with Jim, we focused on decision-making. After the interview was complete, Chris and I made a decision of our own. Chris’ discussion with Jim contained so much great information on business and leadership, we didn’t want you to miss a single bit of it. So we decided to break it in to two parts.

Last week, I shared my notes on part one. Today, I’ve included a synopsis on the rest of the interview. Here’s part two.

Jim said that the “great” executives don’t want to be surrounded by “yes men.” Instead, they encourage debate and disagreement when trying to make a major decision. Once the decision was made, it was followed by:

  • A unified commitment by the team behind the decision.
  • Brilliant execution of that decision leading to a big click on the flywheel.

Jim’s Advice: It’s your responsibility to disagree. But once that decision is made, it’s your responsibility to either back it up and make it   successful or leave.

Besides encouraging debate, the executives interviewed had a high questions-to-statement ratio. What’s that? Jim said it’s how many questions you ask to how many declarative statements you issue.

Jim’s Advice: If you never ask questions, you are probably not going to make as good of a decision. Count your questions-to-statement ratio and see if you can double it in a year.

Great leaders don’t always have all the answers. If you look at how they figure things out, most had to muddle along.

Jim’s Advice: Take someone like Bill Gates. It took him a while to grasp the importance of the internet. If it took him a while, what makes any of us think we are smarter than Bill Gates?

In today’s world, it seems there is never enough time and everyone constantly feeling rushed. How can you make decisions when everything is so crazy?

Jim’s advice: Schedule “pockets of quietude,” on your calendar just like you would any other activity or meeting. You need  time to think and reflect, so look at the big picture, then decide what to do.

 Question: What’s the hardest decision you’ve ever made and why?



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

28 thoughts on “Jim Collins On Making Decisions Part 2”

  1. My wife and I had to make an extremely difficult decision a year and a half ago when we canceled our trip to Kenya. We were so excited to go serve with a group of people from our church in the slums of Nairobi. We had our passports, our shots, and our plane tickets. We paid quite a bit of money that was not refundable, and many people had donated to make this trip possible.

    A significant health issue made it apparent that this trip was not a good idea. Canceling this trip meant we were unable to return money that people had given us for the trip. It meant humbly confronting friends and family with the news of our change in plans.

    As it turns out, this was the smartest decision we could make. The health issues eventually turned into a hospitalization and significant recovery period. Had these issues unfolded in Kenya, we would not have had access to the same level of health care and support that home offered.

    We made the right call.

    I really appreciated this podcast. I especially appreciated the interview and Dave’s squirrel analogy.

        1. I know what you mean! A couple years ago my husband and I were renting a house, and a friend of ours who looked at our furnace for fun (another story 🙂 He’s a furnace guy) had to shut it down because of carbon monoxide poisoning. It was in the dead of winter (midwest) and our landlady waited almost a month to send a check to get it repaired. A couple in our church wrote a check from their savings so we would have heat, and we would pay them back when we got the landlady’s check. I was determined that we couldn’t take other people’s money and could take care of ourselves…. We probably would’ve froze if my husband didn’t have the humbleness to accept that check. And we did get them paid back 🙂 Let’s say I learned a valuable lesson about letting others be used by God!

    1. Jon, i grew up in Kenya, and i know exactly what you mean, about having to cancel the trip. Now that i live here, i have two different perspectives. I hope you can still make the trip someday! It will be worth it.

  2. I like the idea of scheduling pockets of quietude in our lives. Just yesterday I was thinking this but did not articulate it quite as well. I think we could accomplish more if we took the time for this in our lives.

  3. I like the idea of scheduling pockets of quietude in our lives. Just yesterday I was thinking this but did not articulate it quite as well. I think we could accomplish more if we took the time for this in our lives.

  4. The advice on “quietude” was head on. I have missed out on this during several occasions. But, Jim has offered a fantastic advice on the question of non availability of time in our life. Can’t wait to read his new book.

  5. We made a very difficult personal decision before our daughter was born. The doctors wanted to perform unnecessary interventions and we did not feel safe or comfortable with what they had planned to do. Right then we looked for a second opinion and we switched doctors and hospital a week before the due date. We had to gather a lot of information, do extensive research and ask many many questions. As a result, we had a safe delivery and a healthy baby. With what we know now, if we had gone the other route, we would have had a major medical emergency.

    Transfer that to leadership, decisions sometimes are a matter of life or death. If you asked the right questions (and lots of them), gathered all the information you possibly could and still are not convinced that it is the best course of action, it’s time to walk away.

  6. I can think of a couple situatins, but this one stands out.
    When i first moved to this country, a few people took me under their wing. I promised to help them out, if they were ever in trouble and i meant it, still do. Fast foward a few years, one of them approached me to cosign on a personal loan for them. For a couple reasons (Which i understood), he wasn’t able to get the loan on his own, and deep down i knew he could repay it. If i had the money, i would have been happy to give it to him or do what we call a soft loan, but i could not bring myself to cosign the loan for him at the bank. It broke my heart to have to say no, but i still felt it was the right decision.

  7. This podcast on making decisions has helped me to be more brave in making decisions. I listened to both part 1 and part 2 twice.

    It was very motivational. Thanks for all you do!

  8. The hardest decision I ever had to make was at 20 yrs of age when I realized I had to become firm in my decision to help me. In order to achieve that, that mean that leaving the home of my parents, against their advice, without their consent, with no approval, with no welcome back ever (yes that is the case unfortunately, even 15 years later), without any further communication, completely on my own…was a tough one. However the offset was to make a life of peace, love and harmony…I don’t regret it. Except, I only wish I had done it sooner!

    Why was it the hardest? Because your parents are you roll models. They are the 1st ones you want support from. To face the fact that the abuse is not normal, the lack of love is not Gods will, the hypocrisy will only continue as it has and you are the one who has to walk away, the fact that nothing was ever good enough, is tough to face at any age. It has only made me who I am today and I hope it continues to work growth in my life with the guidance of the Only One who can work all things for His good!

    I have always been told I ask too may questions…interesting points. Enjoyed the recap!

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