U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

"Good to Great" Policing: Application of Business Management Principles in the Public Sector

NCJ Number
Chuck Wexler; Mary Ann Wycoff; Craig Fischer
Date Published
June 2007
66 pages
This report summarizes the key principles identified in Collins' book, Good to Great (GTG), giving business executives advice on how to push their companies to greatness, evaluates their relevance for policing as perceived by officials at the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) conference, and offers experiences and insights on issues identified in this book.
The seven qualities, concepts, practices and principles in the book include: (1) self-humbling level 5 leaders (highest level of executive capabilities); (2) getting the right people on the bus (assembly of teams first, then proceeding with what direction to go in); (3) confront the brutal facts of current realities; (4) the Hedgehog Concept (based on Greek parable about the fox, which knows many things, and the hedgehog which knows one big thing); (5) a culture of discipline (employees show extreme diligence and intensity); (6) technology accelerators; and (7) the flywheel (where it takes time and the combined efforts of many people making many decisions and doing many things to achieve success) and the doom loop (the chronic restructuring without disciplined thought and inconsistency). Each principle stated above is explored in its application and utility to policing. In the world of policing, some of the Collins' principles may be particularly important. In policing, greatness is not merely about finding a few great individuals for top management positions, but also creating great systems for overcoming obstacles and establishing a strong self-disciplined culture within the organization that will continue long after the retirees are replaced. In his book Good to Great (GTG), Jim Collins gives business executives advice about how to push their companies from the "merely good" to the world of greatness. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) introduced Collins' book to the Forum in 2004 and explored the applicability for policing of the GTG concepts. Appendix