Built to Last examines 18 exceptional and long-lasting companies, including General Electric, Boeing, Disney, Hewlett-Packard and Proctor & Gamble, and compared each with one of its closest but less successful competitors, in order to discover exactly what has given it the edge over its rivals.Companies need two basic things to beat the competition: a guiding philosophy and a challenging mission. Built to Last provides a blueprint for success for companies around the world, who can learn how to succeed in a ruthlessly competitive environment. The new chapter takes a much-needed look at what the future may hold for Internet companies.
Built to Last
became an instant business classic. This audio abridgement is read by the authors, who alternate chapters. Collins is a bit breathlessly enthusiastic, but clear and interesting; Porras, unfortunately, is poorly inflected and wooden. They set out to determine what's special about "visionary" companies--the Disneys, Wal-Marts, and Mercks, companies at the very top of their game that have demonstrated longevity and great brand image. The authors compare 18 "visionary" picks to a control group of "successful-but-second-rank" companies. Thus Disney is compared to Columbia Pictures, Ford to GM, and so on.
A central myth, according to the authors, is that visionary companies start with a great product and are pushed into the future by charismatic leaders. Usually false, Collins and Porras find. Much more important, and a much more telling line of demarcation between a wild success like 3M and an also-ran like Norton, is flexibility. 3M had no master plan, little structure, and no prima donnas. Instead it had an atmosphere in which bright people were not afraid to "try a lot of stuff and keep what works."
If you listen to this audiocassette on your daily commute, you may discover whether you are headed to a "visionary" place of work--and, if so, whether you are the kind of employee who fits your employer's vision. (Running time: two hours, two cassettes) --Richard Farr