Building your company´s vision

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Building Your Company’s Vision

by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Harvard Business Review
Reprint 96501

HarvardBusinessReview
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 1996 Reprint Number
JAMES C. COLLINS AND JERRY I. PORRAS DAVID A. THOMAS AND ROBIN J. ELY ANN MAJCHRZAK AND QIANWEI WANG N. CRAIG SMITH, ROBERT J. THOMAS, AND JOHN A. QUELCH RICHARD B. FREEMAN BUILDING YOUR COMPANY’S VISION MAKINGDIFFERENCES MATTER: A NEW PARADIGM FOR MANAGING DIVERSITY BREAKING THE FUNCTIONAL MIND-SET IN PROCESS ORGANIZATIONS A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO MANAGING PRODUCT RECALLS 96501 96510 96505 96506 TOWARD AN APARTHEID ECONOMY? 96503 WITH COMMENTARIES BY: ROBERT B. REICH, JOSH S. WESTON, JOHN SWEENEY, WILLIAM J. MCDONOUGH, AND JOHN MUELLER BREAKING COMPROMISES, BREAKAWAY GROWTH 96507

GEORGE STALK, JR., DAVIDK. PECAUT, AND BENJAMIN BURNETT JOHN STRAHINICH

HBR CASE STUDY THE PITFALLS OF PARENTING MATURE COMPANIES SOCIAL ENTERPRISE THE NEW WORK OF THE NONPROFIT BOARD WORLD VIEW VALUES IN TENSION: ETHICS AWAY FROM HOME IDEAS AT WORK BEYOND TOYOTA: HOW TO ROOT OUT WASTE AND PURSUE PERFECTION BOOKS IN REVIEW CAPITALISM WITH A SAFETY NET?

96508

BARBARA E. TAYLOR, RICHARD P. CHAIT, AND THOMAS P.HOLLAND THOMAS DONALDSON

96509

96502

JAMES P. WOMACK AND DANIEL T. JONES

96511

MARC LEVINSON

96504

HBR
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 1996

by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras

We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets Companies that enjoy enduring successhave core values and a core purpose that remain fixed while their business strategies and practices endlessly adapt to a changing world. The dynamic of preserving the core while stimulating progress is the reason that companies such as HewlettPackard, 3M, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Merck, Sony, Motorola, and Nordstrom became elite institutions able to renew themselves and achieve superiorlong-term performance. Hewlett-Packard employees have long known that radical change in operating practices, cultural norms, and business strategies does not mean losing the spirit of the HP Way – the company’s core principles. Johnson & Johnson continually quesHARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW September-October 1996

tions its structure and revamps its processes while preserving the ideals embodied inits credo. In 1996, 3M sold off several of its large mature businesses – a dramatic move that surprised the business press – to refocus on its enduring core purpose of solving unsolved problems innovatively. We studied companies such as these in our research for Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies and found that they have outperformed the general stock market by a factor of 12since 1925.
James C. Collins is a management educator and writer based in Boulder, Colorado, where he operates a management learning laboratory for conducting research and working with executives. He is also a visiting professor of business administration at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Jerry I. Porras is the Lane Professor of Organizational Behavior and Change at StanfordUniversity’s Graduate School of Business in Stanford, California, where he is also the director of the Executive Program in Leading and Managing Change. Collins and Porras are coauthors of Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (HarperBusiness, 1994).
Copyright © 1996 by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras. All rights reserved.

VISION

Truly great companies understand thedifference between what should never change and what should be open for change, between what is genuinely sacred and what is not. This rare ability to manage continuity and change – requiring a consciously practiced discipline – is closely linked to the ability to develop a vision. Vision provides guidance about what core to preserve and what future to stimulate progress toward. But vision has become...
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