SMaC Down!

– a quick personal note: I’m away attending to some urgent family business, so I’ve suspended the 2013 GsD Fall Term for a week. In it’s place, I’m reposting one of the most popular series on 27gen – a look at Jim Collins’ book Great by Choice with application to ChurchWorld. It continues to get views almost every day, so I hope you enjoy the entire series


All week long I’ve been posting excerpts and summaries from Great by Choice, the latest work by Jim Collins (assisted this time by Morten Hansen). Great by Choice asks a simple question:

Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?

Collins and Hansen have answered that question with solid principles, based on nine years of research and interviews. The following are the authors’  comments on SMaC.

SMaC stand for Specific, Methodical, and Consistent.

The more uncertain, fast-changing, and unforgiving your environment, the more SMaC you need to be.

A SMaC recipe is a set of durable operating practices that create a replicable and consistent success formula; it is clear and concrete, enabling the entire enterprise to unify and organize its efforts, giving clear guidance regarding what to do and what not to do. A SMaC recipe reflects empirical validation and insight about what actually works and why.

Developing a SMaC recipe, adhering to it, and amending it (rarely) when conditions merit correlate with 10X success. This requires the three 10X behaviors:

  • empirical creativity (for developing and evolving it)
  • fanatic discipline (for sticking to it)
  • productive paranoia (for sensing necessary changes).


Amendments to a SMaC recipe can be made to one element or ingredient while leaving the rest of the recipe intact. Like making amendments to an enduring constitution, this approach allows you to facilitate dramatic change and maintain extraordinary consistency.

Far more difficult than implementing change is figuring out what works, understanding why it works, grasping when to change, and knowing when not to.

What is your SMaC recipe? Is it still valid, or does it need amending?

Continually question and challenge your recipe, but change it rarely.

Great by Choice


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