“Great is never the enemy of Good.” With this sentence, John Stahl-Wert and Jim Van Eerden extend the conversation Jim Collins started in his book, Good to Great. Stahl-Wert and Van Eerden masterfully build upon Collin’s work by arguing and illustrating that the greatest companies in the world do the greatest good for the world. In an era when the dominant belief in western culture is that “business is bad,” Great to Good shows that this is not only not true, but that goodness is being advanced around the world through business in extraordinary ways that are re-defining the way philanthropy works in the New Century. This book also issues a caution: current scapegoating of business for all the world’s considerable problems is threatening to cripple the very capacity – business capacity – that the world most desperately needs.
“Great is never the enemy of Good. This statement is true. And the truth of this statement explains why the greatest companies in the world are about the daily task, without note or fanfare, of doing the greatest good for the world.”
“So . . . good (as in “good enough”) is the enemy of Great. But Great is never the enemy of Good. In both sentences, Collins’ and ours, we are talking about a matter that is at once practical and philosophical. “Did I make a difference?” and “Have I done well?” are questions that dog all the days of our lives, and these two questions always insist on showing up in conversation with each other.”
“These questions and this conversation have been going on for a very long time. Adam Smith himself, in his 1759 The Theory of Moral Sentiments, suggested that creating capitalism absent the cultivation of those “moral sentiments” that produce social capital – the spirit and the actions of philanthropy – is like trying to create a forest of trees without roots. The Great and the Good are inseparably intertwined, Smith argued. Neither can thrive without the other”
Research and writing for the final edition of GREAT TO GOOD is still in process. We are interviewing companies that demonstrate “How For-Profit Companies are Changing Philanthropy in the New Century,” as the by-line to the book puts it, and would welcome your suggestions of companies that fit the bill.
We also welcome input from any persons who have assembled data on the subject of this book. How has the Good of companies been measured? What are the metrics tracked by companies? Are there correlations between Great Companies and Good Companies?
Participants in the Great to Good collaboration will receive credit as “Contributing Researchers” in the Expanded Version of the book, due to be released in the Summer of 2012. Contact Sarah Spicuzza (email@example.com) to begin the process.