Built to Last – Jim Collins

Built to Last - Collins and Porrias

Preserve the core values. Stimulate progress.

To build a visionary company, you DO NOT need:

  • a great idea,
  • a visionary charismatic leader,
  • to maximize profits,
  • have a “correct” set of values,
  • change your core values,
  • play it safe,
  • live up to being a great place to work,
  • make their best moves by complex strategic planning,
  • go outside for CEOs,
  • try to beat the competition,
  • pick between two things, or
  • write a vision statement.

As the leader of a visionary company, be a clock-builder, not just a time-teller. Understand, the greatest achievement is not the product or service, but the company itself.

Focus not on the “great idea” that you will make, few visionary companies starting out did, but instead focus on the company as the ultimate creation.

Having a high-profile, charismatic leader is not a requirement in a visionary company. One must architect the organization to sustain itself in the long-term by building the characteristics of the company.

A visionary company doesn’t seek a balance between two opposites, it embraces them both. The AND, not the OR.

A visionary company is more ideologically driven than purely profit-driven. The authenticity of the ideology counts more than the content of it. Bottom line: live, eat and breathe it. Ideology is equal to core values + purpose.

Preserve the core. Stimulate progress. Strive to create based on the inner urge for progress, not from external factors. Always be moving forward.

BHAGS = Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals. Use bold visions as a powerful mechanism to stimulate progress. Clear, compelling, overarching visions. Continue to have these goals and don’t become complacent. One must have a confidence in achieving its goals.

Visionary companies invoke a cult-like atmosphere. Indoctrination, tightness of fit, and elitism. Eject the viruses.

Visionary companies are opportunistic, seemingly falling into many of their business ventures by accident. They throw many ideas at a dartboard and sees what sticks. Evolutionary progress – by trying a lot of different things we’ll find what works. Give it a try, and  quick.

Promote from within to preserve the core. Groom your top execs by mentors above them, and keep successors in line that can fill in. There is no need to hire from outside.

How can we do better tomorrow than we did today? Avoid contentment and comfort, strive instead to discomfort through internal competition. Pursue an ever higher standard. Grow both in the long-term and the short-term.

It’s one thing to have a vision statement, but it’s purely another to act on it. If you do act, you gain the confidence of your employees. Put your money where your mouth is. Ask if this action is appropriate for us as a company, not if it’s good or bad idea.