New Orleans (Oct. 3, 2002) -- Most organizations never become great because they're satisfied with being good, said best-selling author Jim Collins during a keynote speech at the Financial Planning Association's annual Success Forum conference here.

"The sad truth is that most people wake up at the end of their lives and realize they didn't have a great life because it was all too easy to settle for a good one," Collins said. "Good is the enemy of great."

Collins, author of "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't," said he's discovered a set of "timeless principles" that differentiate great from good companies.

Collins described a number of these principles, including:

1. Greatness is cumulative over time -- it's a process, not an event.

2. Those who build greatness focus on choosing the right people for the right tasks before deciding what needs to be done.

3. Great companies aren't afraid to confront "brutal facts" about their business.

4. Great companies focus as much on their "stop doing" lists as on their "to do" lists, recognizing what they're best at and building from that understanding - "not hope or bravado."

-- Melissa Klein

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