October 9th, 2013
May 15th, 2009
Built To Last
By Jim Collins and Jerry Porras
Build to Last is a book written by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, both professors at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. After conducting a study of “visionary” companies that have lasted more than 50 years, wrote this book on their findings detailing the properties that these companies share that made them so extraordinary.
Some, but not all, of the visionary companies that they studied include 3M, American Express, Boeing, Citicorp, Ford, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Marriot, Merck, Motorola, Nordstrom, Phillip Morris, Proctor & Gamble, Sony, Wal-Mart and Disney.
In this book review, we will outline key principles the book describes in detail. In reading this post and the book itself, one can derive huge amounts of value for themselves in their business, sport, organization or even their personal life.
1) Truly great business leaders mainly put their focus on building the company, including having great systems, ideology and people development. The idea here is that the companies that have enjoyed decades of success are not driven by one leader who causes the success of the company, but the visionary companies are built so it is the company, not the leader of the company, that is the main driver of the organization’s success.
2) The visionary companies are not driven by money and profits. Their main focus is beyond money and profits and are propelled by making a serious, lasting and impactful contributions to the world. The visionary companies exist for a reason beyond profits and have profits be a by-product of the fulfilling this purpose. Profits allow them to keep contributing to the world. This view, in the end, makes more money away.
3) The authors of the book are very much for keeping very few things in an organization the same for long periods of time due to their findings. They assert that only one thing in a company should never change at all, which is its core ideology. They further break core ideology down to a company’s mission or purpose, and its core values. Everything beyond this, is malleable.
Core Purpose – the big thing that the company is up to, what it is fulfilling in the world.
Core Values – the guiding principles of a company, what it stands for.
4) Visionary companies have what the authors call Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs for short). A BHAG is an enormous goal that many of the visionary companies had in common. These goals are not just one or two years out, but more like 25 years out. They serve as a future for everyone in the company to be working towards that inspires people and creates cohesion within the company. Examples include become number one or two in all of your market areas, or take over the market share of commercial jets. Collins and Porras stress that one danger of a BHAG is that once it is reached, a new one must be created.
5) Visionary companies have extremely strong cultures. These cultures are so strong that the authors refer to them as “cult-like.” Each and every employee buys into the culture, and those who do not quickly find themselves not fitting in at the company, like all of a sudden adding vinegar into a cup of water. The example used for such a culture is Nordstrom, with its strong culture of customer service.
6) Another commonality among the companies studied was they have “home-grown management.” This means that managers and leaders of the company are promoted from within the company, opposed to hired from the outside. For a company to be able to provide this for itself, it must have a strong internal management development program. The authors use Jack Welch of General Electric as an example, who started working at GE straight out of college and worked his way up the company to CEO.
7) The last quality of a visionary company the book presents is that “good is never enough.” What this means is that there is never an end or a place that is good enough for a visionary company. They never allow themselves to sit back and get comfortable, rather they keep working and moving forward.
Built to Last is an excellent book, and well worth reading to implement in ones own company as an access to produce extraordinary results.
May 5th, 2009
The best-selling book, Three Laws of Performance was written by Steve Zaffron of The Vanto Group and Dave Logan of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.
One of the authors, Steve Zaffron, is the CEO of the Vanto Group, which utilizes the game cutting edge methodology and approach as Gemini Executive Coaching.
In this blog, we will be discussing the third law of performance from the book and how it applies to you and your organization.
The first law of performance states, “How people perform correlates to how situations occur to them.”
The second law of performance states, “How a situation occurs arises in language.”
The third law of performance states, “Future-based language transforms how situations occur to people.”
What does this mean?
From our previous blog, you can see the importance of our occurring world, which is distinct from the facts. The second law of performance explains the origin of the different occurring worlds form person to person.
With this law, the authors create a distinction between two types of language use. The first they discuss is called descriptive language. This is the ordinary way of speaking, which describes the occurring world for a person. The second type of language is called future based or generative language. This is using language as a declaration to say how things will be in the future, which is powerful. This is the type of language one uses to write the future and displace the future that is predictable.
People act according to the future that they see in front of them. Imagine next week you were going to Hawaii. How would your thoughts, actions and feeling be? Now imagine next week you were going to prison. Your thoughts, actions and feeling would be a little different, right? This is because the future that you are living into is giving you your current mindset and actions.
This is what makes generative language powerful. It is used to create a future in which you and those in your company, organization or on your team live into. If you use your language to create a big, bright and inspiring future, people will be inspired as well, and work to have this future become real.
Learn more about The Three Laws of Performance