Built to Last

Built to Last

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- Successful habits of visionary companies -

James C. Collins & Jerry I. Porras

1. Success in business—United States. 2. Industrial management—United States. 3. Entrepreneurship—United States.

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Book Details
 527 p
 File Size 
 5,739 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 0-06-051640-2 (pbk.)
 978-0-06-051640-6 (pbk.) 
 1994, 1997, 2002 by James C. 
 Collins and Jerry I. Porras.

About the Authors
JIM COLLINS is a student and teacher of enduring great companies—
how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how
good companies can become great companies. The author of the
national bestseller Good to Great, his work has been featured in
Fortune, the Economist, USA Today, and Harvard Business Review.

JERRY I. PORRAS is the Lane Professor of Organizational Behavior
and Change, Emeritus, at the Stanford University Graduate School of
Business where he has served as associate dean for academic a􀀯airs
and frequent executive education teacher. He studies ways of
aligning companies around their purpose and core values to
produce lasting high performance.
Visit www.AuthorTracker.com for exclusive information on your
favorite HarperCollins authors.

About the Publisher
HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty. Ltd.
25 Ryde Road (P.O. Box 321)
Pymble, NSW 2073, Australia
HarperCollins Canada
2 Bloor Street East -20th Floor
Toronto, ON, M4W, 1A8, Canada
New Zealand
HarperCollins Publishers (New Zealand) Limited
P.O. Box 1
Auckland, New Zealand
United Kingdom
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
77-85 Fulham Palace Road
London, W6 8JB, UK
United States
HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022

We believe every CEO, manager, and entrepreneur in the world
should read this book. So should every board member, consultant,
investor, journalist, business student, and anyone else interested in
the distinguishing characteristics of the world’s most enduring and
successful corporations. We make this bold claim not because we
wrote this book, but because of what these companies have to teach.

We did something in researching and writing this book that, to
our knowledge, has never been done before. We took a set of truly
exceptional companies that have stood the test of the time—the
average founding date being 1897—and studied them from their
very beginnings, through all phases of their development to the
present day; and we studied them in comparison to another set of
good companies that had the same shot in life, but didn’t attain
quite the same stature. We looked at them as start-ups. We looked
at them as midsize companies. We looked at them as large
companies. We looked at them as they negotiated dramatic changes
in the world around them—world wars, depressions, revolutionary
technologies, cultural upheavals. And throughout we kept asking,
“What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the other companies?”

We wanted to go beyond the incessant barrage of management
buzzwords and fads of the day. We set out to discover the timeless
management principles that have consistently distinguished
outstanding companies. Along the way, we found that many of
today’s “new” or “innovative” management methods really aren’t
new at all. Many of today’s buzzwords—employee ownership,
empowerment, continuous improvement, TQM, common vision,
shared values, and others—are repackaged and updated versions of
practices that date back, in some cases, to the 1800s.
practices that date back, in some cases, to the 1800s.

Yet, much of what we found surprised us—even shocked us at
times. Widely held myths fell by the dozen. Traditional frameworks
buckled and cracked. Midway through the project, we found
ourselves disoriented, as evidence 􀀵ew in the face of many of our
own preconceptions and prior “knowledge.” We had to unlearn
before we could learn. We had to toss out old frameworks and
build new ones, sometimes from the ground up. It took six years.
But it was worth every minute.

As we look back on our 􀀸ndings, one giant realization towers
above all the others: Just about anyone can be a key protagonist in
building an extraordinary business institution. The lessons of these
companies can be learned and applied by the vast majority of
managers at all levels. Gone forever—at least in our eyes—is the
debilitating perspective that the trajectory of a company depends
on whether it is led by people ordained with rare and mysterious
qualities that cannot be learned by others.

We hope you take many things from this book. We hope the
hundreds of speci􀀸c examples will stimulate you to immediately
take action in your own organization. We hope the concepts and
frameworks will embed themselves in your mind and help guide
your thinking. We hope you take away pearls of wisdom that you
can pass along to others. But, above all, we hope you take away
con􀀸dence and inspiration that the lessons herein do not just apply
to “other people.” You can learn them. You can apply them. You
can build a visionary company.
Stanford, California
March 1994

Table of Contents
Title Page
Introduction to the Paperback Edition

Chapter 1: The Best of the Best
Chapter 2: Clock Building, Not Time Telling
Interlude: No “Tyranny of the OR”
Chapter 3: More Than Profits
Chapter 4: Preserve the Core/Stimulate Progress
Chapter 5: Big Hairy Audacious Goals
Chapter 6: Cult-Like Cultures
Chapter 7: Try a Lot of Stuff and Keep What Works
Chapter 8: Home-Grown Management
Chapter 9: Good Enough Never Is
Chapter 10: The End of the Beginning
Chapter 11: Building the Vision

Epilogue: Frequently Asked Questions
Appendix 1: Research Issues
Appendix 2: Founding Roots of Visionary
Companies and Comparison Companies
Companies and Comparison Companies
Appendix 3: Tables
Appendix 4: Chapter Notes
About the Authors
Back Ad
Author’s Note
More Praise for Built to Last
About the Publisher

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“The great value of Built to Last is that no one before
had ever taken a look at what makes these companies
successful.... There’s a lot of common sense here,
which seems more important in the end than the
latest management theory of the month.”
—Don Kazak, Palo Alto Weekly
“You’ll get much corporate lore here that will help
you stump your friends and impress your colleagues.
But don’t read this book for its trivia value; read it for
its ideas. Collins and Porras’ provocative analysis will
get you thinking. And, more important, itching to
apply these ideas in your own organization.”
“Built to Last is a well-developed treatise on corporate
longevity, and an apt meditation on organizing with values in mind.”
—Michael Pellecchia, Business Monday,
San Jose Mercury News
“Built to Last is powerful and swift reading, and
jammed with the best practices of those companies
who have ‘gone gold.’ It belongs on your list if you
share their longing to ‘build to last.’”
—Terry O’Keefe, Atlanta Business Journal
“[Built to Last] is the sort of book that makes an
immediate strong impression; it’s the kind CEOs buy
immediate strong impression; it’s the kind CEOs buy
by the dozens, if not the hundreds. Simply and
straightforwardly, Mr. Collins and Mr. Porras make
their point, support it, and get out of the way.... The
lessons are here to be learned, for CEOs, managers and
entrepreneurs alike. If you want to build your
organization to last, you can, and this book will
provide a good blueprint.”
—Jim Scheller, City Business
“The In Search of Excellence for the 1990s has arrived. It is Built to Last.”
“This high-energy, deeply researched book makes
‘vision’ an operational component in a manager’s tool
kit. After six years of delving into the ‘secrets’ of 18
visionary companies (average lifespan of 90 years),
Collins and Porras deliver a staccato array of lessons
that can be applied at almost any level.”
—Thomas L. Brown, Industry Week
“Built to Last will open a whole new window on
what it takes to create and achieve long-lasting
greatness as a visionary corporation.”
—Edgar H. Schein, International Business
“What [Collins and Porras] make a case for in Built to
Last is no less than a revolution in our understanding
of what makes companies successful over the long haul.”
—Nancy Sheperdson, Chicago Tribune
“Collins and Porras demonstrate the hows of good
management in detail, with readable case histories
(IBM, Merck, Motorola, Walt Disney, among others)
and studies of contrasting corporations, and they
include guidelines for those striving for long-lasting success.”