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Built To Last: Successful Habits Of Visionary Companies [Paperback] [Oct 12, 1997] Collins, James C. & Jerry I Porras …...

Title : Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
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Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies Reviews

  • Obied Alahmed
    2019-02-22 18:36

    - استراتيجيات بعيدة المدى تكون أهم من الأشخاص ولا تتغير بتغيرهم - نظم جادة تتحول لعقيدة تعمل المنظومة كلها وفقا لها- أفكار جريئة لا خجولة ولا متهورةهذا المزيج لابد من توفره لتتحول الشركات إلى عملاق يسيطر ويستمر لأجيالهذا يجعلنا نعرف البون الشاسع بين هذه الشركات وشركاتنا العربية التي تكون في الغالب مرتبطة بمن يجلس على الكرسي وتتغير بتغير ألوان ياقته

  • Lucas
    2019-03-21 20:21

    Visionary companies are premier institutions - the crown jewels - 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 - an institution. All individual leaders, no matter how charismatic or visionary, eventually die; and all visionary products and services - all "great ideas" - eventually become obsolete. Indeed, entire markets can become obsolete and disappear. Yet visionary companies prosper over long periods of time, through multiple product life cycles and multiple generations of active leaders.18 visionary companies in this study:3MAmerican ExpressBoeingCiticorpFordGeneral ElectricHewlett-PackardIBMJohnson & JohnsonMarriottMerckMotorolaNordstromPhilip MorrisProcter & GambleSonyWal-MartWalt Disney12 Myths ShatteredMyth 1: It takes a great idea to start a great company.Reality: Starting a company with a "great idea" might be a bad idea. 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. Furthermore, regardless of the founding concept, the visionary companies were significantly less likely to have early entrepreneurial success than the comparison companies in our study. Like the parable of the tortoise and the hare, visionary companies often get off to a slow start, but win the long race.Myth 2: Visionary companies require great and charismatic visionary leaders.Reality: A charismatic visionary leader is absolutely not required for a visionary company and, in fact, can be detrimental to a company's long-term prospects. Some of the most significant CEOs in the history of visionary companies did not fit the model of the high-profile, charismatic leader - indeed, some explicitly shied away from that model. Like the founders of the US at the Constitutional Convention, they concentrated more on architecting an enduring institution than on being a great individual leader. They sought to be clock builders, not time tellers. And they have been more this way more than CEOs at the comparison companies.Myth 3: The most successful companies exist first and foremost to maximize profits.Reality: Contrary to business school doctrine, "maximizing shareholder wealth" or "profit maximization" has not been the driving force or primary objective through the history of the visionary companies. Visionary companies pursue a cluster of objectives, of which making money is only one - and not necessarily the primary one. Yes, they seek profits, but they're equally guided by a core ideology - core values and sense of purpose beyond just making money. Yet, paradoxically, the visionary companies make more money than the more purely profit-driven comparison companies.Myth 4: Visionary companies share a common subset of "correct" core values.Reality: There is no "right" set of core values for being a visionary company. Indeed, two companies can have radically different ideologies, yet both be visionary. Core values in a visionary company don't even have to be "enlightened" or "humanistic," although they often are. The crucial variable is not the content of a company's ideology, but how deeply it believes its ideology and how consistently it lives, breathes, and expresses it in all that it does. Visionary companies do not ask, "What should we value?" They ask, "What do we actually value deep down to our toes?"Myth 5: The only constant is change.Reality: A visionary company almost religiously preserves its core ideology - changing it seldom, if ever. Core values in a visionary company form a rock-solid foundation and do not drift with the trends and fashions of the day; in some cases, the core values have remained intact for well over one hundred years. And the basic purpose of a visionary company - its reason for being - can serve as a guiding beacon for centuries, like an enduring star on the horizon. Yet, while keeping the core ideologies tightly fixed, visionary companies 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.Reality: Visionary companies may appear straitlaced and conservative to outsiders, but they're not afraid to make bold commitments to "Big Hairy Audacious Goals" (BHAGs). Like climbing a big mountain or going to the moon, a BHAG may be daunting and perhaps risky, but the adventure, excitement, and challenge of it grabs people in the gut, gets their juices flowing, and creates immense forward momentum. Visionary companies have judiciously used BHAGs to stimulate progress and blast past the comparison companies at crucial times in history.Myth 7: Visionary companies are great places to work, for everyone.Reality: Only those that "fit" extremeley well with the core ideology and demanding standards of a visionary company will find it a great place to work. If you go to work at a visionary company, you will either fit and flourish - probably couldn't be happier - or you will likely be expunged like a virus. It's binary. There's no middle ground. It's almost cult-like. Visionary companies are so clear about what they stand for and what they're trying to achieve that they simply don't have room for those unwilling or unable to fit their exacting standards.Myth 8: Highly successful companies make their best moves by brilliant and complex strategic planning.Reality: Visionary companies make some of their best moves by experimentation, trial and error, opportunism, and - quite literally - accident. What looks in retrospect like brilliant foresight and preplanning was often the result of "Let's just try a lot of stuff and keep what works." In this sense, visionary companies mimic the biological evolution of species. We found the concepts in Charles Darwin's Origin of Species to be more helpful for replicating the success of certain visionary companies than any textbook on corporate strategic planning.Myth 9: Companies should hire outside CEOs to stimulate fundamental change.Reality: In seventeen hundred years of combined life spans across the visionary companies, we found only four individual incidents of going outside for a CEO - and those in only two companies. Home-grown management rules at the visionary companies to a far greater degree than at the comparison companies (by a factor of six). Time and again, they have dashed to bits the conventional wisdom that significant change and fresh ideas cannot come from insiders.Myth 10: The most successful companies focus primarily on beating the competition.Reality: Visionary companies focus primarily on beating themselves. Success and beating the competitors comes to the visionary companies not so much as the end goal, but as a residual result of relentlessly asking the question "How can we improve ourselves to do better tomorrow than we did today?" And they have asked this question day in and day out - as a disciplined way of life - in some cases for over 150 years. No matter how much they achieve - no matter how far in front of their competition they pull - they never think they've done "good enough."Myth 11: You can't have your cake and eat it too.Reality: Visionary companies do not brutalize themselves with the "Tyranny of the OR" - the purely rational view that says you can have either A OR B, but not both. They reject having to make a choice between stability OR progress; cult-like cultures OR individual autonomy; home-grown managers OR fundamental change; conservative practices OR BHAGs; making money OR living according to values and purpose. Instead, they embrace the "Genius of the AND" - 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."Reality: The visionary companies attained their stature not so much because they made visionary pronouncements (although they often did make such pronouncements). Nor did they rise to greatness because they wrote one of the vision, values, purpose, mission, or aspiration statements that have become popular in management today (although they wrote such statements more frequently than the comparison companies and decades before it became fashionable). Creating a statement can be a helpful step in building a visionary company, but it is only one of thousands of steps in a never-ending process of expressing the fundamental characteristics we identified across the visionary companies.One of the most important steps you can take in building a visionary company is not an action, but a shift in perspective. The success of visionary companies - at least in part - comes from underlying processes and fundamental dynamic embedded in the organization and not primarily the result of a single great idea or some great, all-knowing, godlike visionary who made great decisions, had great charisma, and led with great authority. Think more in terms of being an organizational visionary and building the characteristics of a visionary company.Profitability is a necessary condition for existence and a means to more important ends, but it is not the end in itself for many of the visionary companies. Profit is like oxygen, food, water, and blood for the body; they are not the point of life, but without them, there is no life.One way to keep core ideology at the top of people's minds: write a series of essays (emails, memos, blog posts) to employees about "who and why we are." In thirty one essays, a Motorola executive discussed the importance of creativity, renewal, total customer satisfaction, quality, ethics, innovation, and similar topics; not once did he write about maximizing profits, nor did he imply this was the underlying purpose - the "why" of it all.A key step in building a visionary company is to articulate a core ideology (core values plus purpose). Core values are the organization's essential and enduring tenets - a small set of general guiding principles; not to be confused with specific cultural or operational practices; not to be compromised for financial gain or short-term expediency. Purpose is the organization's fundamental reasons for existence beyond just making money - a perpetual guiding star on the horizon; not to be confused with specific goals or business strategies.The single most important point to take away from this book is the critical importance of creating tangible mechanisms aligned to preserve the core and stimulate progress. This is the essence of clock building.5 specific methods to preserve the core and stimulate progress:BHAGs: Commitment to challenging, audacious - and often risky - goals and projects toward which a visionary company channels its efforts (stimulates progress)Cult-like Cultures: Great places to work only for those who buy into the core ideology; those that don't fit with the ideology are ejected like a virus (preserves the core)Try a Lot of Stuff and Keep What Works: High levels of action and experimentation - often unplanned and undirected - that produce new and unexpected paths of progress and enables visionary companies to mimic the biological evolution of species (stimulates progress)Home-grown Management: Promotion from within, bringing to senior levels only those who've spent significant time steeped in the core ideology of the company (preserves the core)Good Enough Never Is: A continual process of relentless self-improvement with the aim of doing better and better, forever into the future (stimulates progress)-A BHAG should be so clear and compelling that it requires little or no explanation. Remember, a BHAG is a goal - like climbing a mountain or going to the moon - not a "statement." If it doesn't get people's juices going, then it's just not a BHAG.-A BHAG should fall well outside the comfort zone. People in the organization should have reason to believe they can pull it off, yet it should require heroic effort and perhaps even a little luck - as with the IBM 360 and Boeing 707.-A BHAG should be so bold and exciting in its own right that it would continue to stimulate progress even if the organization's leaders disappeared before it had been completed - as happened at Citibank and Wal-Mart.-A BHAG has the inherent danger that, once achieved, an organization can stall and drift into the "we've arrived" syndrome, as happened at Ford in the 1920s. A company should be prepared to prevent this by having follow-on BHAGs. It should also complement BHAGs with other methods of stimulating progress.-Finally, and most important of all, a BHAG should be consistent with a company's core ideology.Cult-like cultures reflect the process of building an organization that fervently preserves its core ideology in specific, concrete ways. The visionary companies translate their ideologies into tangible mechanisms aligned to send a consistent set of reinforcing signals. They indoctrinate people, impose tightness of fit, and create a sense of belonging to something speacial through such practical, concrete items as:-Orientation and ongoing training programs that have ideological as well as practical content, teaching such things as values, norms, history, and tradition-Internal "universities" and training centers-On-the-job socialization by peers and immediate supervisors-Rigorous up-through-the-ranks policies - hiring young, promoting from within, and shaping the employee's mindset from a young age-Exposure to a pervasive mythology of "heroic deeds" and corporate exemplars (for example, customer heroics letters, marble statues)-Unique language and terminology (such as "cast members" at Disney, "Motorolans") that reinforce a frame of reference and the sense of belonging to a special, elite group-Corporate songs, cheers, affirmations, or pledges that reinforce psychological commitment-Tight screening processes, either during hiring or within the first few years-Incentive and advancement criteria explicitly linked to fit with the corporate ideology-Awards, contests, and public recognition that reward those who display great effort consistent with the ideology; tangible and visible penalties for those who break ideological boundaries-Tolerance for honest mistakes that do not breach the company's ideology ("non-sins"); severe penalties or termination for breaching the ideology ("sins")-"Buy-in" mechanisms (financial, time investment)-Celebrations that reinforce successes, belonging, and specialness-Plant and office layout that reinforces norms and ideals-Constant verbal and written emphasis on corporate values, heritage, and the sense of being part of something special1) "Give it a try and quick!" For 3M, unlike Norton, the modus operandi became: When in doubt, vary, change, solve the problem, seize the opportunity, experiment, try something new (consistent, of course, with the core ideology) - even if you can't predict precisely how things will turn out. Do something. If one thing fails, try another. Fix. Try. Do. Adjust. Move. Act. No matter what, don't sit still. Vigorous action - especially in response to unexpected opportunities or specific customer problems - creates variation. Had McKnight not asked why Okie sent his cryptic letter requesting grit samples, or had Dick Drew not impulsively promised a solution for two-tone paint jobs, or had Spence Silver not done the experiment that textbooks said could not work, or had Art Fry not tried to solve his church choirbook problem, then 3M wouldn't be a visionary company.2) "Accept that mistakes will be made." Since you can't tell ahead of time which variations will prove to be favorable, you have to accept mistakes and failures as an integral part of the evolutionary process. Had 3M nailed Okie and Drew to the wall (or fired them) for the failed car wax business, then 3M probably wouldn't have invented Scotch tape. Remember Darwin's key phrase: "Multiply, vary, let the strongest live, and the weakest die." In order to have healthy evolution, you have to try enough experiments (multiply) of different types (vary), keep the ones that work (let the strongest live), and discard the ones that don't (let the weakest die). In other words, you cannot have a vibrant self-mutilating system - you cannont have a 3M - without lots of failed experiments. As former 3M CEO Lewis Lehr put it: "The secret, if there is one, is to dump the flops as soon as they are recognized....But even the flops are valuable in certain ways....You can learn from success, but you have to work at it; it's a lot easier to learn from a failure." Keep in mind J&J's paradoxical perspective that failures and mistakes have been an essential price to pay in creating a healthy branching tree that has not once posted a loss in 107 years. At the same time, keep in mind a lesson from the chapter on cult-like cultures: A visionary company tolerates mistakes, but not "sins," that is, breaches of the core ideology.3) "Take small steps." Of course, it's easier to tolerate failed experiments when they are just that - experiments, not massive corporate failures. If you want to create a major strategic shift in a company, you might try becoming an "incrimental revolutionary" and harnessing the power of small, visible successes to influence overall corporate strategy. Indeed, if you really want to do something revolutionary, it might be best to ask simply for permission to "do an experiment." Recall Americal Express's incremental steps in financial services that eventually became the primary strategic pillar of the company, and how William Dalliba used small experiments to incrementally revolutionize the company into travel services. Keep in mind the image of "twigs and branches." Or consider the image of "seeds and fruit" used by Sony to convey the concept of small, idiosyncratic problems as the starting point of great big opportunities.4) "Give people the room they need." 3M provided greater operational autonomy and maintained a more decentralized structure than Norton - a key step that enabled unplanned variation. When you give people a lot of room to act, you can't predict precisely what they'll do - and this is good. 3M had no idea what Silver, Fry, and Nicholsen would do with their 15% "discretionary time." In fact, the visionary companies decentralized more and provided greater operational autonomy than the comparison companies in 12 of 18 cases. Allow people to be persistent. Although the Post-it clan had trouble convincing other 3Mers that their weird sticky little notes had merit, no one ever told them to stop working on it.5) Mechanisms - build that ticking clock! The beauty of the 3M story is that McKnight, Carlton, and others translated the previous four points into tangible mechanisms working in alignment to stimulate evolutionary progress.It is extremely difficult to become and remain a highly visionary company by hiring top management from outside the organization.-What mechanisms of discontent can you create that would obliterate complacency and bring about change and improvement from within, yet are consistent with your core ideology? How can you give these mechanisms sharp teeth?-What are you doing to invest in the future while doing well today? Does your company adopt innovative new methods and technologies before the rest of the industry?-How do you respond to downturns? Does your company continue to build for the long-term even during difficult times?-Do people in your company understand that comfort is not the objective - that life in a visionary company is not supposed to be easy? Does your company reject doing well as an end goal, replacing it with the never-ending discipline of working to do better tomorrow than it did today?

  • Tim
    2019-02-21 01:13

    This is one of the few business books I read cover to cover. I found its idea of what makes companies great to be an inspiring one. It led me to formulate my own "Big Hairy Audacious Goal," which I've tried to use to guide my company ever since: Changing the world by spreading the knowledge of innovators.

  • J.R. Woodward
    2019-03-07 00:14

    Both James Collins and Jerry Porras have worked for a couple of the visionary companies that they write about and both have taught at Stanford University Graduate School of Business (Porras still does). Collins specializes in management education while Porras specializes in organizational behavior and change. They write and speak extensively in these fields and work as consultants for many successful organizations.The thesis of this book is that visionary enduring companies are not dependent upon one charismatic CEO; rather they share timeless, fundamental principles and patterns that transcend product ideas or great leaders. A key principle they uncover from their research is that visionary companies tend to be “clock builders, not time tellers.” Their first concern is building an organizational culture, rather than acquiring the right charismatic leader or the right product at the right time – “the company itself is the ultimate creation” (28). Enduring companies also avoid the tyranny of the “or” and embrace the genius of the “and” (43). It’s not go for the profit or go for the good of the world, but both. Visionary companies aim for the distinct and extreme ying and yang at the same time. Enduring companies preserve the core and stimulate progress at the same time with equal strength. They have Big Hairy Audacious Goals and preserve its core values. They have cult-like tightness around their core ideology and “turn people loose to experiment, change, adapt and – above all – to act” (139). They try a lot of stuff and keep what works. Visionary companies preserve the core by home-grown management and stimulate progress by trying to do better tomorrow than today. They also seek alignment and synergy in all they do. There are three primary principles that I will take with me from this book. The first is that visionary enduring organizations focus on being architects of the culture of the organization prior to anything else. This seems true to my experience for churches as well. We are called to cultivate contrast communities that serve the world by engaging in concrete practices that enable us to live out our core values and beliefs. The second principle that I will take with me on my journey in ministry is the importance of preserving the core while stimulating progress. Keeping the ying and yang distinct in this area is vital, for the core values endure but the way they are lived out often change. Then finally, I appreciate the mention of how alignment and synergy are key element to visionary organizations. I have found this principle to be vital as well.I was glad to hear that not all of the visionary companies use BHAG’s extensively (93,94). At this point in my life, BHAG’s feel more exhausting then stimulating. Of course, I would agree with the authors that one of these elements alone, does not a great company make. BHAG’s by themselves can be de-motivating for a community that has not yet developed a culture necessary to enact those goals. Timing of BHAG’s is crucial. I have found two principles to be vital for us to implement. First is home-grown leadership. I would say that some of the biggest problems that have ensued in our church plant have been when we have taken leaders from the “outside” and too quickly put them into influential roles. We have corrected this by requiring people be with us for a season in order to be immersed in our core before being given the privilege to serve in influential roles. Second, and the most important principle that our community needs to implement from this book is finding more and various ways to immerse people into our core values and practices while continuing to be innovative in how we accomplish our mission.

  • Peter Aloysius
    2019-03-04 00:18

    jim collins cherry picked some companies that he thinks successfull and compare them to 'failed' rival company in the same industry to find out what characteristics that successful company has that the rival company doesn'tSounds good, but the problem is, he didn't compare the opposite. What those characteristics of successful company which other failed company also has but they still failed.For example, Big Hairy Audicious goal. I'm pretty sure that a lot of company around the world also has but they still failed.

  • Tõnu Vahtra
    2019-02-26 19:27

    The single most important point to take away from this book is the critical importance of creating tangible mechanisms aligned to preserve the core and stimulate progress. This is the essence of clock building. 5 specific methods to do preserve the core and stimulate progress: *BHAGs: Commitment to challenging, audacious - and often risky - goals and projects toward which a visionary company channels its efforts (stimulates progress) *Cult-like Cultures: Great places to work only for those who buy into the core ideology; those that don't fit with the ideology are ejected like a virus (preserves the core) *Try a Lot of Stuff and Keep What Works: High levels of action and experimentation - often unplanned and undirected - that produce new and unexpected paths of progress and enables visionary companies to mimic the biological evolution of species (stimulates progress) *Home-grown Management: Promotion from within, bringing to senior levels only those who've spent significant time steeped in the core ideology of the company (preserves the core) *Good Enough Never Is: A continual process of relentless self-improvement with the aim of doing better and better, forever into the future (stimulates progress) “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 only truly reliable source of stability is a strong inner core and the willingness to change and adapt everything except that core.”“Visionary companies are so clear about what they stand for and what they’re trying to achieve that they simply don’t have room for those unwilling or unable to fit their exacting standards.” “Indeed, if there is any one “secret” to an enduring great company, it is the ability to manage continuity and change—a discipline that must be consciously practiced, even by the most visionary of companies.” “Comfort is not the objective in a visionary company. Indeed, visionary companies install powerful mechanisms to create /dis/comfort--to obliterate complacency--and thereby stimulate change and improvement /before/ the external world demands it.” “If you are a prospective entrepreneur with the desire to start and build 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. Indeed, the evidence suggests that it might be better to not obsess on finding a great idea before launching a company. Why? Because the great-idea approach shifts your attention away from seeing the company as your ultimate creation.” 12 Myths Shattered Myth 1: It takes a great idea to start a great company. Myth 2: Visionary companies require great and charismatic visionary leaders. Myth 3: The most successful companies exist first and foremost to maximize profits. Myth 4: Visionary companies share a common subset of "correct" core values. Myth 5: The only constant is change. Myth 6: Blue-chip companies play it safe. Myth 7: Visionary companies are great places to work, for everyone. Myth 8: Highly successful companies make their best moves by brilliant and complex strategic planning. Myth 9: Companies should hire outside CEOs to stimulate fundamental change. Myth 10: The most successful companies focus primarily on beating the competition Myth 11: You can't have your cake and eat it too. Myth 12: Companies become visionary primarily through "vision statements."

  • Stephanie
    2019-03-06 20:14

    I'm reading this book for a company book club. My company views this work as guide for building and maintaining the company...making sure that it's 'built to last'. Reading Built to Last is also part of my indoctrination into the company culture, which I am told I am a good 'fit' for. It only follows that our book discussions are filled with comparisons of our company and the 'visionary' companies studied. We spend time relating what we read to what we see on a day-to-day basis at work, which makes this a more interesting experience than if I'd simply read Built to Last on my own. That being said, I don't really care for the writing or rhetorical style of this book, and I think the ideas are a bit outdated (maybe they've already been internalized by the global business community?) but I think it's an interesting glimpse into the commonalities and inner working of some very large, famous and mostly still successful companies. This week, we read about BHAGs and cult-like cultures, the former of which elicited a few YFZ ranch comments (Only in Texas...) but otherwise I think people were a bit reluctant to admit that our company endorses and embraces a cult-like culture. The myriad social groups, on-site cafeterias, free t-shirts, etc. do quite a good job of facilitating a cult-like culture, despite common grumblings I've heard among my co-workers. Anyway, I am glad I am reading this book if for no other reason than I get to witness my co-workers likening my company to a 'visionary' one. More to come...++++++++++++ So, today is the last day of my corporate book club meeting discussing Built to Last. I was a bit perplexed by one of the last chapters, which basically said "Don't get comfortable." I mean, I get this and all, but is that really the final shining gem that I am to take with me when all is said and done. Meh. Anyway, this has been an interesting enough read, though I think I would recommend that you read a good summary or review of the book as opposed to subjecting yourself to the entire 250+ pages of diluted case studies and less-that-slick rhetoric. This give me an idea....since at least a few of the companies outlined have fallen on hard times, it'd be interesting to make a "Where are they now" short film. My final words on this book: I'm glad it's over.

  • Reagan Ramsey
    2019-03-10 01:34

    i liked that they focused on companies that have made it long term in this book. it demonstrates that great companies aren't solely built on an idea or market timing; but on great systems, having a vision and mission that is higher than money (for real, not just something you put on a plaque somewhere), and creating a tight, consistent culture...so that it becomes apparent very quickly whether or not someone is a fit. I actually took their advice and spent some time thinking about what my mission would be if I never got paid for what I do. I realized that what i love about my role has nothing to do with the industry or any product (you can only get so passionate about insurance), but that I get to take something very complex and expensive and make it approachable to people. Financial rewards are important, but doing something that has real purpose is what makes those long days worth it. It was a good exercise. And a book definitely worth reading.

  • TarasProkopyuk
    2019-03-10 19:27

    Эта книга очень хорошо дополняет книгу "От хорошего к великому" того же автора. Она является её продолжением. В "Построенные навечно" хорошо обобщаются данные, детализируются принципы успеха, наводятся хорошие примеры и приведены отличные выводы. Рекомендую её также как и книгу "От хорошего к великому" - обязательную к прочтению. Данные книги будут очень полезными для всех целеустремлённых людей, руководителей, начинающих и всех уровней предпринимателей не зависимо от их опыта, а также инвесторам, исследователям и экспертам.

  • Greg
    2019-03-21 00:36

    Update: I flipped through this a few days ago and realized this book is only slightly better than "Who Moved My Cheese," and other business-related books. I read this years ago, and today it's the only "business book" that has stayed on my shelves here at home after I finished my 30 years in corporate America. There are some good articles about successful companies vs. failed companies, and if I ever start a company, there are some admirable ones here with which to study.

  • Youssef Assad
    2019-02-21 22:16

    I started to read this book after finishing Good To Great by Jim C Collins and it's really an excellent book that led me to reformulate my own concept about company's core values, purpose. The following chapters Clock Builder, Big Hairy Audacious Goal and Try a lot of stuff are extremely important and it did help me to see the bigger picture of how a company should operate. definitely, it's a must-read the book for any manager, CEO, Entrepreneur who is interested to contribute in building any company/organization that shall last over time.

  • T
    2019-02-19 23:17

    I actually started this book 9 years back. But somehow never got around to completing it. This time I resolved to see it the full way. The book has some good insights that make lot of sense for a company, a department and I feel even for an individual. The research methodology looks rigorous but as the authors themselves have pointed towards the closing, there are some gaps in the approach. However I feel there are broad patterns we can see in successful organizations - having core values that remain constant throughout its life, gunning for big hairy audacious goals to keep people inspired, inspiring a cult like loyalty among the employees of the company, grooming leaders from inside, evolutionary growth by trying out lot of things and continuous focus on improvement. In some ways it matches the culture of traditional Japanese corporations. The author also has a theme of Yin and Yan throughout the book of how one has to balance the tugs from opposing forces to keep things rolling. One can find details of what each of the things mean and how the example companies have implemented the same. The book is definitely worth a read with a bit of healthy skepticism.

  • Navaneethakrishnan Gopalakrishnan
    2019-03-21 23:27

    I liked this book very much and especially how the title of the book is derived. ‘Built to last’ is all about visionary companies and how they built themselves to survive the tough periods and did changed the world and still lasted. The author doesn’t categorize only the profitable companies alone as visionary companies, rather how these companies distinguished themselves to categorize their vision and how they started and sustained from the beginning to till now and what we can learn from these visionary companies that can help us a lot. I liked those myths that were explained and what they were in reality and out of which few that attracted me are: Not that all visionary companies require a great leader to start with. The core values of visionary companies stayed intact but they still adapt to change in time. Visionary companies make the best of them by experimenting and not always doing with a perfect planning. Last but not the least, visionary companies keep themselves improving rather than comparing with their competitors. The author gives a common message to most of the leaders to make a shift in their thinking perspective rather than having an immediate action plan. People who want to create a visionary company they need to adapt to changes in their strategies, organization systems, structure, design etc., almost everything. Visionary companies concentrate to build team spirit within their employees and they make them to do work right from their heart. This gives pleasure for them working for the organization and as such results in profits. When it comes to People, Products and Profits, the people comes first always, then comes products and the profits auto follow them. But at the same time, profits are necessary for existence. Profits are like oxygen and food, without which there is no life. Core values are very much essential for any organization. No matter what the core values are of an organization, but if it has core values then that’s the key and it should be there irrespective of time period. Core ideology is not created or set, rather it is discovered and it is to guide and inspire and not to differentiate. This book is full of principles that can help anyone who wants to build a visionary company.

  • Midetobi
    2019-03-18 20:20

    'Built to Last'- What I learnedA well-researched Business book which thoroughly describes what building a visionary company entails. It is full of numerous examples from the eighteen sets of Visionary-- Comparison companies studied- from which the findings of the book were derived. After reading this book, you would realize that creating a corporate vision is more of a discovery and in no way a 'wordsmithing' process. Having a vision statement doesn't only make a great company. Visionary companies preserve their Core Values and Purposes while at the same time stimulating progress by using different mechanisms- which would be discovered after reading the book. How well a company lives by its core ideologies is far(more) important than just having a nice sounding and striking vision statement. If you attempt to copy a well crafted vision statements and values from Google.com, would you-as a company-live by it? that's why only a statement would not make you a visionary company. Also, one of the most interesting thing about a company's core ideology is that 'There is no ideal one' . You would find explanations on Philip Morris' (A cigarette maker) core ideologies quite interesting. Almost everyone could build a visionary company so far there is the right mindset--That which you would get after reading Built-to-Last.Lastly, note that the book is a serious read! You really need to be determined to switch to appendices which, were often referred to in the book in order for you to visualize the data on which those valuable conclusions therein were based, before reading further. Despite that, The book deserves a 5* from me. I would plan a reread(2 or 3 more times) in a nearby time- I found it difficult to swallow all those interesting findings at once.I would recommend this book for any business minded person who likes to learn about the processes involved in building a visionary company. Those who plan to have their own companies should make it a MUST for themselves. I would also ensure that I reread the book- from Cover to Cover- whenever I'm ready to set up my own company.

  • Elliard Shimaala
    2019-03-20 17:22

    In my opinion, this book is a well-researched paper about successful companies in comparison with the “not so” successful companies doing the same kind of business. Built to Last brings together years of study by Jim and Jerry making it an awesome read for business unit managers, CEOs and entrepreneurs. The contents of chapters such as, more than profits, can serve as a talent attraction tool (especially millennials) in today’s business world. Why? Research has shown that millennials prefer working for companies they think serve a greater purpose for humanity. Successful companies such as Sony and Ford, both given as examples in the book, have known this for years and capitalized on it. Other things built to last companies do is have big hairy audacious goals to get people pumped up and excited about reporting for work every morning. They also believe in home-grown managers or talent and that good enough, never is. The book further puts to shame the notion that successful companies are built by charismatic leaders with a certain je ne sais quoi. This book is based on empirical evidence rather than never before tested theories dreamt of by some management consultant in his office – a feature which makes it exciting to read. It was informative and helped me understand why and how some companies have survived while others have collapsed. *Note that some of the visionary companies listed in the book have gone through major transformations since the book was written*

  • David McClendon, Sr
    2019-03-08 22:40

    So far in business there are three highly respected books written about research performed on businesses and what makes them successful. The first would be In Search of Excellence. The second would be Built to Last and, finally, Good to Great.Built to last compares companies within the same industry to see what makes one “visionary” and the other not so visionary. It looks at several different industries this way. The book acknowledges that there may be some flaws with its research but, in the end, the book gives the reader some ideas about what might make a company “Built to Last.”The book gives us some basic history of different companies and tells us some of what made different CEOS tick. It is worth reading for just that information alone. It also makes some observations about what the more successful, in terms of being “Visionary,” companies have in common with each other.Any aspiring CEO should be familiar with this study and this book. It provides some great fodder for thought. It also gives one a foundation from which a company which is built to last can be built. I checked this book out from the Wharton County Library through their Inter-Library Loan (ILL) service. Support your local library.

  • Joe
    2019-03-04 22:28

    A precursor to the author's later book, Good to Great, Built to Last is a scientifically backed study of what separates Visionary Companies from Merely Good Companies.There's a lot of good stuff here, but it is best summed up with their remark that "building a visionary company is a design problem" as opposed to a more mechanistic problem.And that sounds exactly right. A cookie cutter approach simply doesn't work. Instead, companies need to take a really deep look at their unique drives and purpose and use those drives and purpose to create an infrastructure of greatness that will last well beyond any given CEO or product.It's in this comment -- the belief that each company's problems and solutions are unique and require a certain degree of artistry to manage -- that sets this book well above other business books that try to shoe horn every business into their paradigm for success. And it's for that reason, and it's methodology and research, that I give this book 4 stars.

  • Kevin O'Brien
    2019-03-11 23:30

    Oddly enough, though this was the first of the big Jim Collins books, it was the last one I read. Since this was first published in 1994 you can note that one or two of those companies may not last much longer. Motorola, for instance, may be on the edge. But the core concept of this book is still relevant, that you need to stick to your core values but be willing to change everything else. This book preceded Collins' smash hit "Good to Great", but in fact I would read all three of them together (the most recent is "How the Mighty Fall"), as together they tell a story. They also share a methodology that makes a great deal of sense: match each "success" company with another very similar, but not as successful company. That way you can pick out the distinguishing factors that separate the great from the merely good.

  • Devanshi Mittal
    2019-03-01 18:35

    Built to Last is a very well researched and a convincing book that has definitely opened my mind to new ideas and thoughts about companies. Every chapter of the book is important. The authors have evidently shown visionary and comparison companies to show how the same idea may not still work if you don't have certain characteristics. The best and maybe the most scariest part is that there is no right or no wrong characteristic - It is about your passion, your vision, your core values, your purpose and your BHAG's. It is not a once-read and kept away book. It must be kept in every business person's bookshelf.

  • Mario Tomic
    2019-03-01 23:26

    One of the most valuable books I've read on how to build a company that will change the world. The book is loaded with research, hard evidence to support the claims and with great stories. Collins really nailed it with this one, the content debunks a lot of the myths established by business schools, general public and media. I strongly urge you to read this book, even if you aren't planning to start a company. It will teach you many great lessons which will help you to achieve more success in life.

  • Jen
    2019-03-08 01:15

    Corporate blah blah blah blah.I struggled to get through it, but it wasn't the most painful business book ever. I just can't stand the earnestness. Business books that read like they just found the map to the holy grail irk me. Cop to having a great deal of luck and admit your outlook may be totally wrong, but it's the best you could schlep together with what you know, and I'll get on board. If you fully buy into your own BS, I'm not going to enjoy your work.

  • Eric Burleson
    2019-02-24 19:34

    The research behind this book identifies a few key characteristics that "visionary" organizations have. Interestingly, the definition of "visionary" is incredibly robust, and the author's team went to great lengths to identify those things that made these companies great. I strongly recommend this book for anybody working in organizational development, or anyone that wants to make their organization better.

  • Chris Simmons
    2019-02-28 20:30

    Great book, detailing the successes of visionary companies and what differentiates them from their competitors. Inspiring, makes me want to implement as many of the suggestions as I can in my own company. I want to read "The Halo Effect", a book a different author that details possible errors in the research done by Collins on this book - balanced viewpoints are important.

  • Chuck
    2019-02-27 21:42

    Pretty good but dated, and some of the words of wisdom failed in some of the cases. Enjoyed the discussion of the visionary plan of Freddie Mac to change the mortgage industry to benefit more people starting in 1992. The noted that these changes might out live the secondary mortgage industry... probably happened not the way they planned.

  • Sigurd Magnusson
    2019-03-05 23:30

    Great lessons based on detailed research, inspiring and challenging, enormous insights into how people created companies that have lasted decades and survived changes of CEOs, radical market and economic shifts, and how you can replicate that success.

  • Hieu
    2019-02-26 20:31

    The book offers me nothing new. However, it recalls my deeply-interred belief. It's awakening.

  • Anurag Kesarwani
    2019-03-02 23:23

    Interesting Ideas were conveyed in the book...but i feel that all these ideas cant be applied in the Indian business scenario.

  • Omari Souza
    2019-02-24 20:25

    Awesome Read.

  • Justin Tapp
    2019-03-05 21:37

    Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Harper Business Essentials) To differentiate my review from the myriad others, I try to relate it to church and faith-based organizations. Collins has written his own summary on his website, which is handy. Really, this book is a study on management and organizational behavior in competitive by firms who went from a garage idea to income equivalent to the GNP of small countries and kept growing there for decades. I don't find the commonalities in practice between the 18 super companies different than you might find advised in a Blanchard or Maxwell leadership text. Reading this book you often think "Man, I wish my church/school/company/office would do these things." The list:3MAmerican ExpressBoeingCiticorp (now Citigroup)DisneyFordGeneral ElectricHewlett PackardIBMJohnson & JohnsonMarriottMerckMotorolaNordstromPhilip Morris (now Altria)Procter & GambleSonyWal-MartI've read both Levitt and Kahneman, I'm very familiar with their critique of Collins' hindsight bias, the halo effect, and the understatement of luck. But these types of studies are common in all fields where you want to compare entities over time. How would you have gone about it? Whether you're reading Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel; Thom Rainer's Autopsy of a Dead Church; or Fukuyama's Origins of Political Order or its sequel-- they're all basically doing the same thing. Americans watch former Governors debating on stage to be President, boasting of their states' economic and employment growth during their terms, as though they had something to do with it. What are some possible hypotheses for why certain institutions thrive and never regress to the mean, and why do some never make it out of incubation? If there was a clear answer, everyone would do it (and then it would't work). The authors do write, however, that following this patterns of the other companies may paradoxically make you more successful or less successful. It makes sense once you read the book.This was the 2004 version, which was updated from the 1994 version and is now seems written to go logically after Good to Great. I liked this book much better than Good to Great, which I think suffered from the above much more and suffered the reader to remember their made-up jargon. Half companies in Good to Great have either gone bankrupt or fallen much further back to "average." The 18 "visionary" companies in BTL are mostly still household names, and while some have not thrived in the Internet and mobile age, they still thrived through 50+ years of technological change and economic churn, and while their benchmark competitors have also, not to the same extent. These firms were picked by a survey of 165 CEOs, not by cherry picking stock data. However, the firms identified each generated at a return to investors of over 15 times what investing in the entire market would have gotten, while the comparison companies outperformed the market, but at roughly only twice the market average. Over a 50-year time horizon (more since this book was updated in 2004) most are still performing well.My biggest critique of the book is that they do not look at the rent-seeking behavior of these companies. Boeing, for one, is the multi-billion dollar recipient of tax incentives and subsidies in the states they operate. So, they used their market power to leverage government help. It is similar with the other entities in this book, if we agree with Kahneman that randomness explains the > 2sigmas above the mean returns over time, then perhaps when these companies achieved that return they were able to cash in by lobbying for trade protection, Ex-Im Bank favor, etc. Motorola and Sony had connections with the Japanese government that goes mostly unexplored. Controlling for that, you might have a different picture. But the authors would likely argue that competitor companies received just as much, and probably sometimes more, taxpayer help but without the same results.Lessons from the book:The core values of the organization are what matters, nothing else. "Your core values are your non-negotiables," what principles would you not give up even if it meant higher profit? This core is what you build around, regardless of what the profits will be. All 18 visionary companies do this, return to it continually, and success follows later.The values are something every member should know, something everyone should be able to recite when asked. Just like America has the same Constitution whenever a new Congress or President is elected, visionary companies don't fundamentally change when a new CEO is appointed. Likewise, a church with a plurality of elders should transition fairly seamlessly if the lead pastor leaves, the vision and core values of the church shouldn't change.Principles and processes more important than leaders and personalities. Most of the visionary companies did not have charismatic, salesman-like CEOs. Nor were their CEOs mostly outsiders-- most came from within the company already steeped in the values and the core business. Healthy organizations have a team of leaders that complement each other's weaknesses, if your organization is depending on one dynamic leader then it will fail when he leaves, retires, or dies.There is no "tyranny of the 'or,'" if someone else can make your core business offering better than you can, move on to something else. Your core values are "the only sacred cow," you must be willing to change anything and everything else. American Express was once a delivery service like UPS, for example. But you must "preserve the core AND stimulate progress." "To be built to last, you must be built to change." The elephant must dance. Each of the companies had an ability to come back from difficult times better than before by changing what it made, "selling the mills," (story not included in this book), etc. When the PC market seemed to savage IBM, it rebuilt its core around servers and business services, dominating its chosen market. The business changed because the economy changed, but the values didn't. The authors actually find a negative correlation between early success and later success. Failure comes first. Hewlett-Packard was once a garage workshop for two engineers trying gadgets like auto-sensing urinals. The products they produced did not matter, and profit was not the end-all, they just knew they wanted to work together and what they stood for. Finding the right product came later, the values and "who is on the bus" mattered first.Policy and values must be put ahead of goals. In other words, "start with 'why?'" Visionary companies must have core values, that is the repeated message and jives with what I read in Toxic Workplace, which I also recommend. Only once values are embraced can you come up with the Big Hairy Audacious Goals that the 18 visionaries tended to have. Don't confuse the two, your core values are not "To sell..." or "To be the market leader..." but things like "Be a model of integrity in the industry," "value the customer," etc. Your BHAGs are essentially your short or mid-term vision, which also should be embraced by members. "200 adult baptisms next year," "Serve meals in every downtown block," or "produce the first water-powered airplane," etc. The goal should be clearly understood, and everyone sees his role as working to support that vision.Sinek's Start With Why talked about companies allowing employees to experiment, and he was partly drawing from Collins et al. Extreme Toyota is another book I have read recently that looks at audacious successes and failures that come from permission to experiment. 3M is an example of unplanned success, giving its employees a rule of 15% of their time spent experimenting with new ideas. The employee is empowered to be creative and to fail. Allowing people to be persistent with their ideas until it's clear they won't work is also important, one trial run should not determine success or failure. The Wal Mart greeter was originally an experiment by one store to stop shoplifting, it worked and spread. Companies that embrace "evolutionary progress" become the elephants that can dance.All leaders/CEOs/pastors and even parents are interim, it's just a matter of time. Visionary companies have a succession plan in place, including a culture of promoting from within to preserve the core. Continuity mattered in the 18 visionary companies, with few hiring CEOs from the outside. At Nordstron, everyone starts at the stockroom and works up to the store floor before progressing on to management, if they have met their targets and earned it; it's an expectation. I read at least one Ken Blanchard book where he wrote of his regret at leaving a church without a succession plan in place, he watched from a distance as his former church struggled to find a new pastor and declined abysmally. Not having a succession plan is irresponsibility.Visionary organizations also create mechanisms of discomfort to combat complacency. This requires setting even more Big Hairy Audacious Goals, experimenting with new ways of doing things, and examining whether or not you've changed with the times. If you have a happy, holy huddle and you're fine with it, then decay is probably setting in. If you're not growing, you're dying.The authors close with advice for leaders and Boards: Make a list of your top 3 priorities annually. Then, make a list of something you need to start doing, something you should stop doing, and determine how you'll measure these. If you're not self-improving ruthlessly, then you will just end up average, or even slightly above average, and not visionary.I give it 4 stars out of 5. I enjoyed it, recommend it as a leadership and management book. One book the authors recommend which I have not read is Barbarians at the Gate, which is the R.J. Reynolds story.

  • Greg Stoll
    2019-02-19 17:17

    On a whim, I picked up this book at an airport bookstore. I had heard the name of it before, and it was better than I expected. (I’m also a bit of a sucker for business books)The idea of the book is to examine “visionary” companies (premier in their industry, widely admired, etc.) and try to figure out what makes them different. So the first step is to identify visionary companies, which they did by sending out a survey to top CEOs. (they also set an arbitrary cutoff of founding before 1950) So they ended up with a list like 3M, GE, HP, Proctor & Gamble, Boeing, Disney, Johnson & Johnson, Philip Morris, etc. Then they searched for comparison companies in the same industry that were founded at a similar time and were successful but not “visionary”. So HP got compared with Texas Instruments, Disney was paired up with Columbia, GE was paired up with Westinghouse, etc. Then with these comparisons, they looked for patterns to see what was different.Their findings were interesting: a “great idea” at a company’s founding isn’t necessary, or even early success. You don’t need a great or charismatic visionary leader for a visionary company. The visionary companies did not play it safe. And so on.Then the book distills these down into what it takes to have a visionary company. The biggest thing is that a visionary company needs a fixed core ideology and a clear vision. By this they don’t mean just having a vision statement, but having a purpose (beyond “make money”) that is widely recognized and taken seriously within the company. For example, Sony was founded with a “pioneer spirit” (and the idea of raising the reputation of Japanese electronics – Sony was founded right after World War II), HP was founded to provide something that is unique and to make technical contributions, Johnson and Johnson focuses on aiding the “art of healing”, Philip Morris focuses on freedom of choice and “the right to smoke”.This was probably the most interesting part of the book for me. Learning about companies core beliefs (especially compared to a lot of the comparison companies which boiled down to “make money”) was actually kind of inspiring.The book goes out of the way to point out that there’s no “right” vision, but just that having one that is authentic and guides decision making is what seems to matter. Some companies focused on customers, some on employees, some on their products or services, some on risk taking, and some on innovation. Again, just having a vision statement is not enough.The rest of the book talks about other things that the visionary companies tend to do. One is “Preserve the Core and Stimulate Progress”, meaning always remain true to your core values, but don’t be afraid to try different non-core things. Similarly, “making a profit” can’t really be a core value, but you can’t ignore it either. (this is the “Genius of the AND”) Another is trying a lot of stuff and keeping what works. Yet another is home grown management which seems highly correlated with being a visionary company – that way your upper management has spent a lot of time in the company and learning and internalizing its values.The authors spent a great deal of time on their methodology and trying to make sure that this was a scientific(ish) study. Ideally we would examine two companies that were founded at the same time, one with these principles and one without, and see how they turned out. Since we can’t do that, we have to examine historical data, which can lead to various biases. For example, maybe embracing these principles leads to a 99% chance of failing in the first 20 years and a 1% chance of massive visionary success. This seems like a pretty big problem, and one that the authors touched on but didn’t have a very convincing argument for.Anyway, I enjoyed it a lot, and clearly it’s something that’s read at National Instruments because I recognized a lot of the terms used (BHAG, Profitable Core, etc.), which was kinda neat. It’s available for lending and is a fairly quick read.