Monday, October 14, 2013

Built to Last (5): Preserve The Core / Stimulate Progress

Had read "Built to Last" since a while; and realized that it's not just about building a company that would last for couple decades, but also it's about building a "Personality" & a "Nation" that could last for decades as well.

So, I thought I should keep some notes/excerpts...

Part 1: The Best of The Best
Part 2: Clock Building, Not Time Telling
Part 3: No "Tyranny of The OR" (Embrace The "Genius of The AND")

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We've found that companies get into trouble by confusing core ideology with specific, noncore practices. By confusing core ideology with noncore practices, companies can cling too long to noncore items - things that should be changed in order for the company to adapt and move forward. This brings us to a crucial point: A visionary company carefully preserves and protects its core ideology, yet all the specific manifestations of its core ideology must be open for change and evolution.


Drive For Progress:
Core ideology in a visionary company works hand in hand with a relentless drive for progress that impels change and forward movement in all that is not part of the core ideology. The drive for progress arises from a deep human urge - to explore, to create, to discover, to achieve, to change, to  improve. The drive for progress isn't a sterile, intellectual recognition that "progress is healthy in changing world" or that "healthy organizations should change and improve" or that "we should have goals"; rather, it's a deep, inner, compulsive - almost primal - drive.

Like a persistent and incurable itch, the drive for progress in a highly visionary company can never be satisfied under any conditions, even if the company succeeds enormously: "We can always do better; we can always go further; we can always find new possibilities." As Henry Ford said, "You have got to keep doing and going."


An Internal Drive:
Like core ideology, the drive for progress is an internal force. The drive for progress doesn't wait for the external world to say, "It's time to change" or "It's time to improve" or "It's time to invent something new". No, like the drive inside a great artist or prolific inventor, it is simply there, pushing outward and onward.


In visionary company, the drive to go further, to do better, to create new possibilities needs no external justifications.


We've found that organizations often have great intentions and inspiring visions for themselves, but they don't take the crucial step of translating their intentions into concrete items. Even worse, they often tolerate organization characteristics, strategies, and tactics that are misaligned with their admirable intentions, which creates confusion and cynicism. The gears and mechanisms of the ticking clock don't grind against each other but rather work in concert - in alignment with each other - to preserve the core and stimulate progress. The builders of the visionary companies seek alignments in strategies, in tactics, in organization systems, in structure, in incentive systems, in building layouts, in job design - in everything.

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