I have a crush on Jim Collins. Okay! It’s out there for the world to know, and I don’t care if people laugh at me. Who is Jim Collins, you ask? Jim Collins is a researcher, author, speaker, and business consultant. He wrote these classics: Good to Great, Built to Last, and Great by Choice, along with other best sellers.
I am very fond of Jim because he is a great teacher and I love to learn. Learning and taking action that makes Dasher a great organization makes me feel happy. Jim writes and speaks about how to do this, so he brings me happiness.
I was talking about my fondness for Jim Collins with Dasher’s Chief Information and Security Officer, Ed Dame, who knows me well enough to take this conversation very seriously. It occurred to me that Dasher’s work in data security was like the 20-mile march, a concept developed in Jim Collins’ book, Great by Choice, that uses the analogy of hiking across the United States in one 20-mile stretch at a time.
Ed, who is very familiar with Jim Collins’ work, and he knows of my fondness for Jim, agreed. He said that companies that accomplish great things, set rigorous performance goals to hit them consistently. Then I asked Ed to reflect on how his role has evolved at Dasher from the point where we began focusing on data security in 2017.
Ed said, “When I started at Dasher, I was focused on operations, and the data security process was in its infancy. We were doing the standard things with our IT vendor but had not grown to the point where formal processes and procedures were in place.
“We chose to focus on our data security strategy because it offered Dasher a distinctive value proposition to our customers who want their data to be well-protected and the strategy provided a measurable competitive difference for Dasher in the sales arena,” Ed recalled for me.
Having a true competitive advantage comes from performing differently and solving a problem better than our competition. To me, that is sweet music. When I speak with our customers, I want to talk about our quantifiable performance that makes us better instead of reciting unverifiable and indistinct claims about service and satisfaction.
As Ed and I thought back on our early days of deciding on our data security strategy, we both remembered that the strategy of developing and implementing a more robust information security capability seemed costly and time consuming. With a long list of operational issues to resolve, as all businesses have, it seemed, at first, that we would have to put off working on data security or drop some of the other key initiatives.
This is when the “Genius of the AND” came into play at Dasher. According to the one and only Jim Collins, enduring great companies “liberate themselves with the ‘Genius of the AND.’ Instead of choosing between A OR B, they figure out a way to have both A AND B. When it comes to the flywheel, you need to fully embrace the Genius of the AND, sustain the flywheel AND renew the flywheel.”
Ed said, “Our senior team talked about it, and we all decided to go for it and to do it without dropping any of the other balls we had in the air. We pushed hard on the flywheel to get it moving.”
I was so happy that Ed brought up the fly wheel concept from Good to Great. Who thinks of this amazing stuff? Jim Collins does. That’s who. In Good to Great, Jim writes that each turn of the flywheel builds upon our previous work as we make a series of good decisions and execute them well, they compound one upon another and this this is how we build greatness.
Yes, we pushed very hard and then we pushed hard on it again and again and again. From that point 4 years ago, Dasher has attained a much higher level of maturity where we have formal data security processes and procedures covering our operations. Dasher is SOC 2SM Type 2 certified and has attained HITRUST CSF Certified status.
As Ed pointed out with understandable pride, “Dasher’s strategy, like all great strategies, is now a complex system interwoven among Dasher’s operational procedures with all the parts fitting together.”
I totally agreed with Ed when he said. “I see Dasher’s data security strategy as an enduring and consistent value driver for years to come.” That is Jim Collins’ message in a nutshell.