Jun 2, 2009

Morten Hansen Discusses His Research Partner, Jim Collins

From Fortune Magazine

My death-defying climb with Jim Collins

By Kevin Maney

It's 7 a.m. when I park in front of Jim Collins' house in Boulder, Colo. He's already out front, slim and wiry, his 50 years given away by nearly-white hair. Collins looks up from sorting piles of hooks, harnesses, ropes and cantilevered clasps. "Want to see where we're going?" he says. Collins is energized, caffeinated, enthused — which seems to be his natural state. If he were a dog, he'd be a Jack Russell terrier....

We get onto the topic of his next book. He and Morten Hansen of the University of California, Berkeley, just finished seven years of number-crunching research into why some companies do well during turbulent times, and others don't. This is how Collins came to the conclusion about discipline and innovation. When an industry or whole economy goes to hell, highly disciplined companies like Intel (INTC, Fortune 500) or Southwest Airlines (LUV, Fortune 500) come through it and even gain strength. Companies that rely too much on innovation hit a wall and crumble....

Through all this, Collins kept working. Unable to move much more than his typing fingers and eyeballs on recovery days, Collins would sit and write or crunch data. Collins and Caldwell made trips to Yosemite to scout El Cap and do other big climbs in the park. So he scheduled meetings at Yosemite with research partner Hansen, who lives in San Francisco. "I'd drive to Yosemite and we'd go on some walks and talk and we did our work, so it was no problem," Hansen says. "We're both organized individuals. Although, Jim is a little more extreme."


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October 4, 2016