In previous articles we had discussed the importance of a vision and how to become a visionary leader, mainly through the principles of Tribal Leadership. Today we will discuss the concept of a visionary company.
Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, the authors of “Built To Last” define a visionary company as follows:
“Visionary companies are premier institutions – the crown jewels – in their industries, widely admired by their peers and having a long track record of making a significant impact on the world around them. The key point is that a visionary company is an organization – an institution. All individual leaders, no matter how charismatic or visionary, eventually die; and all visionary products and services – all ‘great ideas’ – eventually become obsolete. Indeed, entire markets can become obsolete and disappear. Yet visionary companies prosper over long periods of time, through multiple product life cycles and multiple generations of active leaders.”
Visionary products and leaders are finite, a visionary company is enduring. Markets change, products become obsolete, leaders die, but a well architected company can transcend the limitations of markets, products, and individuals. A visionary company is more than a great idea, visionary product, or charismatic leader – a visionary company may produce these things, but they do not make the company.
Visionary companies are characterized by the following:
1. Extraordinary long-term performance.
2. Weave themselves into the very fabric of society and make an indelible imprint on the world around them.
3. Preserve their core values and stimulate progress.
4. Leaders are “clock builders” and not “time-tellers.”
5. Embrace the “Genius of the AND.”
6. Exist for a purpose beyond making money.
Visionary companies face setbacks, but they display a remarkable resiliency with the ability to bounce back from adversity.
The visionary companies which were researched as part of the Built To Last study started as companies first, and later developed visionary products. The goal was to architect a great company, not launch a great idea or visionary product. The great ideas, products, and leaders were a result of the visionary company.
Start first with the company and the rest will follow.
1. Dave Logan. Tribal Leadership:
2. Jim Collins. Built To Last:
3. J.R. Sedivy. Core Values.
4. J.R. Sedivy. Vision.