THE SUMMARY IN BRIEF
You are about to look at the results of a landmark study that will change the way you manage.
Authors James Collins and Jerry Porras spent six years studying ex- ceptional companies — visionary companies — to see what accounts for their success.
What are visionary companies? They are the premier organizations in their field, firms that have a long record of having an impact on the world. Ford. Sony. Procter & Gamble. Merck. Motorola. Johnson & Johnson. These are companies that have distinguished themselves as a special and elite breed of institution. And, with an average founding date of 1897, and stock-return performance of fifteen times the general market since 1926, they are companies that have stood the test of time.
Collins and Porras surveyed hundreds of CEOs to find out which com- panies they most esteemed. They chose eighteen, and then researched them deeply. They charted their growth, ran numbers on them, analyzed their cultures, and identified key moments in their corporate lives.
They also compared each to a carefully chosen competitor from the same founding era. Their goal: to uncover the underlying factors that helped the visionary company outperform the competition.
As the box to the left shows, the comparison companies are not dogs. Most are still in business and have done well. But not as well as the vi- sionary companies, which have shown they can bounce back from adver- sity and stay at the top of the heap year after year.
What Collins and Porras discovered will work for you today, whatever your job or level. You’ll learn to view yourself as a “clockbuilder,” to pre- serve the values that set your company apart from others, to set audacious goals, to experiment freely, and much more. And you’ll know these con- cepts have value, because they come from the same playbook that has helped visionary companies soar for decades.