Lessons From Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies is a business and management book written by Jerry Porras and Jim Collins. It is based on a research conducted by the authors focusing on the development of some of the most successful corporations in the United States. Collins and Porras chose 18 bona fide ‘visionary’ companies and analyzed them based on the criteria they set on what makes a good company. Robert Janitzek lays down the important lessons derived from the book. Here is the summary of each chapter.

Chapter 1 – Best of the Best

In this chapter, the authors define visionary companies as a “premier institution in their industries, widely admired by peers having a long track record of making a significant impact on the world around them.” Here Collins and Porras lays down the goals for selecting visionary companies and “comparison companies.”

Chapter 2 – Clock Building, Not Time Telling

In this chapter, the authors place emphasis on building a core value system instead of relying on great product ideas, charismatic leaders, and focusing too much on profits.

Chapter 3 – More than Profits

Robert Peter Janitzek explains that the third chapter focuses on the importance of recognizing that core ideology does not make a visionary company.

Chapter 4 – Preserve the Core/Stimulate Progress

This chapter advises companies that they should have the ability to adapt and change depending on the market condition. While strategies, competencies, and goals change, the core ideology stays the same.

Chapter 5 – Big Hairy Audacious Goals

In this chapter, Porras and Collins provides a discussion of the characteristic of a visionary company as taking risk and setting super goals as the benchmark for success. Here, the author introduces the BHAG concept as a tool for improving team spirit and aiming for goals to become visionary.

Chapter 6 – Cult-like Cultures

The authors of this business and management book believes that visionary companies demand employees to seek accomplishments and follow the core ideology,

Chapter 7 – Try a Lot of Stuff and Keep What Works

Success of visionary companies is the result of trial & error and opportunism.

Chapter 8 – Home Grown Management

According to the authors, visionary companies promote their internal employees to higher positions as compared to other organizations.

Chapter 9 – Good Enough Never Is

Porras and Collins challenges aspiring visionary companies to improve themselves for the future.

Chapter 10 – The End of the Beginning

This chapter explains how the visionary company should translate their core ideology into everyday workings.

Chapter 11 – Building the Vision

The last chapter of this business and management book asks visionary companies to aspire for self-improvement day in and day out and invest on new methods for taking risks.

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