Essay on Built to Last

Essay on Built to Last

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Built to Last

Successful business habits of visionary companies can best be described in the book Built to Last by Collins and Porras. Built to Last uses highly successful corporations that fall under specific criteria to correctly describe how these companies became and still are visionary. The visionary companies were researched and examined by using a set of control companies to find what set them apart. This book accurately describes what makes a visionary company work. It diminishes any misconceptions and myths that visionary companies may take on.

In order for the authors to research visionary companies properly the companies meet the criteria of the following: premier institution in its industry; widely admired by knowledgeable businesspeople; made an indelible imprint on the world in which we live; had multiple generations of chief executives; been through multiple product (or service) life cycles; and founded before 1950. If you take the criteria that these visionary companies meet you will find extraordinary companies that surpass that ordinary ones.

There are many interesting conclusions that the authors came up with through there research. One interesting research find was that “creating and building a visionary company absolutely does not require either a great idea or a great and charismatic leader. In fact, we found evidence that great ideas brought forth by charismatic leaders might be negatively correlated with a building a visionary company.” I found this fact to be intriguing. I had always thought that most companies were started on a great idea, or at least with some direction. It turns out that some of the visionary companies just wanted to start a company. It amazes me that it might actually negatively effect how a business starts, but I can see how it might. How to strong of a leader may have weak followers and a great idea could be the only idea.

The authors used a great analysis of “clock building, not time telling.” This one statement helped me see how visionary companies were started. To help explain this analysis an excerpt from the book states, “ They concentrate primarily on building an organization-building a ticking clock- rather than on hitting a market just right with a visionary product idea and riding the growth curve of an attractive product life cycle.” Basically a visionary company is more ...


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... new ideas in and spark new energy. That outside managers can bring the knowledge of another company and a fresh new look. This may be true for a company that is looking to completely revive itself and change but for a visionary company I can’t see it but anything far from the truth. I have always believed that the best managers would come from within. They have the complete knowledge of the company and who and what they stand for. These managers have normally started from the bottom and worked their way up to the top gaining experience from every part of the company. This idea of home-grown management can be described through an excerpt from the book about Jack Welch former CEO of GE and a legendary manager. This excerpt states, “To have a Welc-caliber CEO is impressive. To have a century of Welch caliber CEO’s all grown from inside- well, that is one key reason why GE is a visionary company.” The authors found an astonishing number of home grown management in their visionary companies. They said that, “across seventeen hundred years of combined history in the visionary companies, we found only four individual cases of an outsider coming directly into the role of chief executive.”

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