Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies


Built to Last

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Visionary Companies

“Visionary companies are premier institutions… in their industries, widely admired by their peers and having a long track record of making a significant impact on the world around them. The key point is that a visionary company is an organization“, not an individual or product.

Despite facing setbacks and mistakes, “visionary companies display a remarkable resiliency, an ability to bounce back from adversity. As a result, visionary companies attain extraordinary long-term performance.”

Twelve Shattered Myths

  • Myth 1: It takes a great idea to start a great company.“Few of the visionary companies began life with a great idea. In fact, some began life without any specific idea and a few even began with outright failures.”
  • Myth 2: Visionary companies require great and charismatic visionary leaders.“A charismatic visionary leader is absolutely not required for a visionary company… They concentrated more on architecting an enduring institution than on being a great individual leader.”
  • Myth 3: The most successful companies exist first and foremost to maximize profits.“Visionary companies pursue a cluster of objectives, of which making money is only one—and not necessarily the primary one. …They’re equally guided by a core ideology.”
  • Myth 4: Visionary companies share a common subset of “correct” core values.“There is no ‘right’ set of core values for being a visionary company. … The crucial variable is not the content of a company’s ideology, but how deeply it believes its ideology.”
  • Myth 5: The only constant is change.“A visionary company almost religiously preserves its core ideology. … [However, they] display a powerful drive for progress that enables them to change and adapt without compromising their cherished core ideals.”
  • Myth 6: Blue-chip companies play it safe.“Visionary companies may appear straitlaced and conservative to outsiders, but they’re not afraid to make bold commitments to ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ (BHAGs).”
  • Myth 7: Visionary companies are great places to work, for everyone.“Only those who ‘fit’ extremely well with the core ideology and demanding standards of a visionary company will find it a great place to work.”
  • Myth 8: Highly successful companies make their best moves by brilliant and complex strategic planning.“Visionary companies make some of their best moves by experimentation, trial and error, opportunism, and—quite literally—accident.”
  • Myth 9: Companies should hire outside CEOs to stimulate fundamental change.“Home-grown management rules at the visionary companies to a far greater degree than at comparison companies.”
  • Myth 10: The most successful companies focus primarily on beating the competition.“Visionary companies focus primarily on beating themselves.”
  • Myth 11: You can’t have your cake and eat it too.“Visionary companies do not [believe in the] purely rational view that says you can have either A OR B, but not both. …They embrace the… paradoxical view that allows them to pursue both A AND B at the same time.”
  • Myth 12: Companies become visionary primarily through “vision statements.”“Creating a statement can be a helpful step… but it is only one of thousands of steps in a never-ending process.”

Clock Building, Not Time Telling

“Having a great idea or being a charismatic visionary leader is ‘time telling’; building a company that can prosper far beyond the presence of any single leader and through multiple product life cycles is ‘clock building’.”

The Myth of the “Great Idea
“Few of the visionary companies in our study can trace their roots to a great idea or fabulous initial product.” Some began “with outright failures.”
Waiting for “The Great Idea” Might Be a Bad Idea
If you want to start “a visionary company but have not yet taken the plunge because you don’t have a ‘great idea,’ we encourage you to lift from your shoulders the burden of the great-idea myth.”
The Company Itself is the Ultimate Creation
“Never, never, never give up. But what to persist with? Their answer: The company. Be prepared to kill, revise, or evolve an idea… but never give up on the company.”
The Myth of the Great and Charismatic Leader
“A high-profile, charismatic style is absolutely not required… Perhaps the continuity of superb individuals atop visionary companies stems from the companies being outstanding organizations, not the other way around.”
An Architectural Approach: Clock Builders at Work
“The evidence suggests to us that the key people at formative stages of the visionary companies had a stronger organizational orientation than in the comparison companies, regardless of their personal leadership style.”
This article is taken from this site: http://bizthoughts.mikelee.org/book-summary-built-to-last.html

 

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One response to “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

  1. Pingback: 6 Common Tech Myths That Cost You Money | Tim Batchelder.com

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