Built to Last by Jim Collins

Built to Last by Jim Collins

When I was starting with my MBA, one of the preparatory short courses we have to go through is a seminar on the Case Study Method.  The seminar takes only about three hours.  In this seminar, we were taught about the approach we can use in analyzing and answering cases.  We were taught how to derive the statement of the problem, how objectives need to be written, and some tactics in coming up with alternative courses of action.  The professor who trained us also gave us a list of books that can help us through our course.  One of the highly recommended books was Built to Last by Jim Collins. 
Built to Last is some kind of a case study on the successful habits of visionary companies.  Visionary companies, according to the authors are companies are the “crown jewels” in their industries.  Then they compared those visionary companies with good companies from the same industry or what they called comparison companies.  Their list includes the following companies:
1.    3M
2.    American Express
3.    Boeing
4.    Citicorp
5.    Ford
6.    General Electric
7.    Hewlett-Packard
8.    IBM
9.    Johnson & Johnson
10.  Marriott
11.  Merck
12.  Motorola
13.  Nordstrom
14.  Philip Morris
15.  Procter & Gamble
16.  Sony
17.  Wal-Mart
18.  Walt Disney
The book provided an in-depth analysis of these businesses, their histories, what they did well, how they were able to surpass some challenges they have experienced in the past and what made them last for more than 50 years. 
Built to Last tells us about “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” or BHAGS, corporate social responsibility, and corporate core values.  It has provided how each of the companies evolved from a simple idea into an institution.  It also showed a rather clear picture of how companies were able to adapt to the needs of the customers and situations which helped them succeed when other companies could have failed. 
Built to Last definitely helped me get a better insight of the business world.  It stirred my mind, inspired me, and showed me a map on how I can further improve my department.  It also definitely helped me do better at MBA.
As the preface said, Built to Last is a book that all CEOs, managers, entrepreneurs, consultants, business writers, and business students should read.


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