After making a start, some companies close down very early, some develop into large organizations, but there are a few which continue to flourish for decades. Such, so called visionary companies, have been categorized by the authors as, Built to Last. While it may be advisable, to ascertain the reasons for early closures of various companies, it is more advisable to ascertain the causes, which made these visionary companies to achieve this category. In eleven Chapters of this well known book, the authors discuss various aspects of these eighteen most successful visionary companies, along with some practical concepts, & a large number of examples. This book is based on a six year research carried out by the authors team, which studied these companies, & compared to another set of good comparison companies. This was with a view to find out their distinguishing features, & to identify the specific methods of management, which made them exceptional, so that these could serve as role models. It is advisable that everyone connected with business, at higher or lower level, including consultants, investors & students etc. should read this book.
It was earlier thought that the visionary charismatic leaders, concentrated on building the companies, & other benefits flowed therefrom. But the finding of the research team was that, to make a visionary company, it is not essential to have a great idea or a charismatic leader. Companies have been found to have adopted & accepted, two extremes of one or more dimensions, at the same time. Though difficult but visionary companies have been able to hold, two opposing ideas at the same time. Profit is of course important & essential, but people & products come along with it. Values & profits are together. Core ideology being an essential part of a visionary company, it should be preserved, but there should be changes in other things where required, so that company achieves progress. One major method to stimulate progress, is through laying down big goals or missions. It has been observed in general that, employees want to work & contribute to the success of the company, but at the same time they want that the culture of the company should be pleasing, & that working place should be one which gives happiness, & not fear or boredom. Strategic planning is of course desirable, but visionary companies took their best actions by experimentation, trial & error & some times by pure accident. Therefore, this must also be kept in view. The research team also found that, the visionary companies depended more, on the management team including the top position, being from within the company, rather than from the outside. Further they thought of making the products better than earlier, & other improvements, much before others could think of and/or demand it. A visionary company involves & aligns everyone concerned, into the company core ideology & the drive for progress. The management of various companies must think objectively, keeping the findings of this research team in view & analyzing them, for making judicious decisions about our own company, for its eventual progress at fast pace.
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