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Built to Last Hardcover – September 16, 1994
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From Library Journal
What makes a visionary company? This book, written by a team from Stanford's Graduate School of Business, compares what the authors have identified as "visionary" companies with selected companies in the same industry. The authors juxtapose Disney and Columbia Pictures, Ford and General Motors, Motorola and Zenith, and Hewlett-Packard and Texas Instruments, to name a few. The visionary companies, the authors found out, had a number of common characteristics; for instance, almost all had some type of core ideology that guided the company in times of upheaval and served as a constant bench mark. Not all the visionary companies were founded by visionary leaders, however. On the whole, this is an intriguing book that occasionally provides rare and interesting glimpses into the inner workings and philosophical foundations of successful businesses. Recommended for all libraries.
Randy L. Abbott, Univ. of Evansville Lib., Ind.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
No tables, charts, or obfuscatory language interfere with the presentation and development of consultants Collins and Porras' premise that visionary companies withstand tests of time and fads. On the basis of five years of research, they pinpoint six characteristics of the best American institutions: (1) premier in their industry, (2) widespread admiration from businesspeople, (3) multiple generations of CEOs, (4) an indelible imprint on society, (5) multiproduct (or multiservice) cycles, and (6) pre-1950 roots. The authors' findings confirm a few management theories but contest many others. More important, they demonstrate the hows of good management in detail, with readable case histories (IBM, Merck, Motorola, Walt Disney, among others) and studies of contrasting corporations, and they include guidelines for those striving for long-lasting success. Barbara Jacobs
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Summarizing the basic themes:
* Be an architect and clock builder and design and develop a vision that stand the test of time
* Embrace the "Genius of AND." - do not accept difficult trade-offs and strive for the near impossible
* Preserve the core/stimulate progress - Develop, hone and ruthlessly protect core values, and innovate around that core
* Seek consistent alignment - Align all stakeholders to the vision of the organization and continue to insure alignment
Unlike some of the challenges faced by the companies chosen by Tom Peters in "In Search of Excellence", a 25 year run on Collins book finds many of his study subjects still in the forefront of their industries. Collins is definitely onto something, and is one of the more engaging writers of the genre. Definitely worth the read.