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Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Built to last

Amazon Link: Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Harper Business Essentials)

Amazon.com Review

Built to Last became an instant business classic.

They set out to determine what's special about "visionary" companies—the Disneys, Wal-Marts, and Mercks, companies at the very top of their game that have demonstrated longevity and great brand image.

The authors compare 18 "visionary" picks to a control group of "successful-but-second-rank" companies.

Thus Disney is compared to Columbia Pictures, Ford to GM, and so on.

A central myth, according to the authors, is that visionary companies start with a great product and are pushed into the future by charismatic leaders.

Usually false, Collins and Porras find.

Much more important, and a much more telling line of demarcation between a wild success like 3M and an also-ran like Norton, is flexibility.

3M had no master plan, little structure, and no prima donnas.

Instead it had an atmosphere in which bright people were not afraid to "try a lot of stuff and keep what works."

From Library Journal

What makes a visionary company?

This book, written by a team from Stanford's Graduate School of Business, compares what the authors have identified as "visionary" companies with selected companies in the same industry.

The authors juxtapose Disney and Columbia Pictures, Ford and General Motors, Motorola and Zenith, and Hewlett—Packard and Texas Instruments, to name a few.

The visionary companies, the authors found out, had a number of common characteristics; for instance, almost all had some type of core ideology that guided the company in times of upheaval and served as a constant bench mark.

Not all the visionary companies were founded by visionary leaders, however.

On the whole, this is an intriguing book that occasionally provides rare and interesting glimpses into the inner workings and philosophical foundations of successful businesses.

Recommended for all libraries.

Randy L. Abbott, Univ. of Evansville Lib., Ind. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.—This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Built to Last Contents

  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction to the Paperback Edition
    • Built to Last in a Global, Multicultural World
    • Built to Last Outside of Corporations
    • Ongoing Learning and Future Work
  • Preface
  • The Best of the Best
    • Twelve Shattered Myths
      • It takes a great idea to start a great company
      • Visionary companies require great and charismatic visionary leaders
      • The most successful companies exist first and foremost to maximize profits
      • Visionary companies share a common subset of "correct" core values
      • The only constant is change
      • Blue-chip companies play it safe
      • Visionary companies are great places to work, for everyone
      • Highly successful companies make their best moves by brilliant and complex strategic planning
      • Companies should hire outside CEOs to stimulate fundamental change
      • The most successful companies focus primarily on beating the competition
      • You can't have your cake and eat it too
      • Companies become visionary primarily through "vision statements."
    • The Research Project
      • Origins: Who is the Visionary Leader at 3M?
      • Step 1: What Companies Should We Study?
      • Step 2: Avoiding the "Discover Buildings" Trap (A Comparison Group)
      • Step 3: History and Evolution
        • Uncovering Timeless Principles
      • Step 4: Crates of Data, Months of Coding, and "Tortoise Hunting"
      • Step 5: Harvesting the Fruits of our Labor
      • Stop 6: Field Testing and Application In the Real World
    • Let the Evidence Speak
  • Clock Building, Not Time Telling
    • The Myth of the "Great Idea"
    • Waiting for "the Great Idea" Might Be a Bad Idea
    • The Company Itself Is the Ultimate Creation
    • The Myth of the Cheat and Charismatic Leader
      • Charisma Not Required
    • An Architectural Approach: Clock Builders at Work
      • Citicorp Versus Chase
      • Wal-Mart Versus Ames
      • Motorola Versus Zenith
      • Will Disney Versus Columbia Pictures
    • The Message for CEOS, Managers, and Entrepreneurs
  • Interlude: No "Tyranny of the or" (Embrace the "Genius of the And")
  • More Than Profits
    • Pragmatic Idealism (No "Tyranny of The OR")
    • Core Ideology: Exploding the Profit Myth
      • Hewlett-Packard Versus Texas Instruments
      • Johnson & Johnson Versus Bristol-Myers
      • Boeing Versus McDonnell Douglas
      • Motorola Versus Zenith
      • Marriott Versus Howard Johnson
      • Philip Morris Versus R.J. Reynolds
    • Is There a "Right" Ideology?
      • Table 3.1 Core Ideologies in the Visionary Companies
      • Words Or Deeds?
    • Guidelines for CEOS, Managers, and Entrepreneurs
      • Core Values
      • Purpose
      • A Special Note to Non-CEOs
      • A Special Note to Entrepreneurs and Small Business Managers
  • Preserve the Core / Stimulate Progress
    • Drive for Progress
      • An Internal Drive
    • Preserve the Core and Stimulate Progress
    • Key Concepts For CEOS, Managers, and Entrepreneurs
  • Big Hairy Audacious Goals
    • BRAGS: A Powerful Mechanism to Stimulate Progress
      • A Cigar—and Compelling—Goal
      • Commitment and Risk
      • The "Hubris Factor"
    • The Goal, Not the Leader (Clock Building, Not Time Telling)
      • BHAGs and the "Postheroic Leader Stall"
    • Guidelines For CEOS, Managers, and Entrepreneurs
      • Preserve the Core and Stimulate Progress
  • Cult-Like Cultures
    • "Ejected Like a Virus!"
    • IBM'S Rise to Greatness
    • The Magic of Walt Disney
    • Complete Immersion at Procter & Gamble
    • The Message For CEOS, Managers, and Entrepreneurs
      • Preserve the Core AND Stimulate Progress
    • Ideological Control / Operational Autonomy
  • Try a Lot of Stuff and Keep What Works
    • Johnson & Johnson's Accidental Move Into Consumer Products
    • Marriott's Opportunistic Step into Airport Services
    • American Express's Unintended Evolution Into Financial and Travel Services
    • Corporations as Evolving Species
      • Darwin's Theory of Evolution Applied to Visionary Companies
    • 3M: "the Mutation Machine From Minnesota" and How It Blew Away Norton
      • Enter William McKnlght
    • "Branching and Pruning" at 3M
      • The Stark Contrast at Norton
    • Lessons For CEOS, Managers, and Entrepreneurs
      • What Not to Do
    • Stick to the Knitting? Stick to the Core!
      • Preserve the Core/Stimulate Progress
  • Home-Grown Management
    • Promote From Within to Preserve the Core
      • Discontinuity at Colgate Versus Talent Stacked Like Cordwood at P&G
      • Leadership Gaps at Zenith Versus Motorola's Deep Bench
      • Management Turmoil and Corporate Decline
    • The Message For CEOS, Managers, and Entrepreneurs
  • Good Enough Never Is
    • Mechanisms of Discontent
    • Build for the Future (and Do Well Today)
      • Greater long-Term Investment in the Visionary Companies
    • Marriott Versus Howard Johnson: the Decline of a Great American Franchise
    • The Message for CEOS, Managers, and Entrepreneurs
    • The Parable of the Black Belt
  • The End of the Beginning
    • The Power of Alignment: Ford, Merck, and Hewlett-Packard
      • Ford
      • Merck
      • Hewlett-Packard
    • Lessons of Alignment for CEOS, Managers, and Entrepreneurs
      • 1. Paint the Whole Picture
      • 2. Sweat the Small Stuff
      • 3. Cluster, Don't Shotgun
      • 4. Swim in Your Own Current, Even It You Swim Against the Tide
      • 5. Obliterate Misalignments
      • 6. Keep the Universal Requirements While Inventing Now Methods
    • This Is Not the End
  • Building the Vision
    • The Vision Framework
    • Core Ideology
      • Core Values
      • Core Purpose
      • A Few Key Points on Core Ideology
    • Envisioned Future
      • Vision-level BHAG
      • Vivid Descriptions
      • A Few Key Points on Envisioned Future
    • Putting It All Together
  • Frequently Asked Questions
    • I'm Not CEO. What Can I Do With These Findings?
    • Is There Hope for Old, Large, Non Visionary Corporations?
    • What Guidance Would You Give to a Visionary Company That Seems to Be Losing Its Visionary Status
    • Are There Any People Who Can't Build a Visionary Company?
    • How Does Your Book Fit Other Works, Such as in Search of Excellence?
    • You Studied the Past. Do You Worry That Your Findings Might Become Obsolete in the 21st Century
  • Apendix
    • Appendix 1: Research Issues
      • "Playing With Fire" (What About Bankrupt Visionary Companies?)
      • Is "Visionary" Just Another Word for "Successful"?
      • Can We Trust the CEO Survey to Give Us the Right Companies?
      • Correlations Versus Causes
      • Troubled Times at the Visionary Companies
      • Large Companies Versus Small Companies
      • Uneven Information
      • United States Bias
    • Appendix 2: Founding Roots of Visionary Companies and Comparison Companies
    • Appendix 3: Tables
  • Appendix 4: Chapter Notes

Also see Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don't content outline.

   

Amazon Link: Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Harper Business Essentials)

Amazon Link: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't

 

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker


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… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context

 

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