Filmmaker, Video Editor, Motion Graphics Designer, and Photographer in Cairo, Egypt.
Keeping notes to remember.. You may consider it some sort of Documentation.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Built to Last (6): Big Hairy Audacious Goals


Had read "Built to Last" since a while; and realized that it's not just about building a company that would last for couple decades, but also it's about building a "Personality" & a "Nation" that could last for decades as well.

So, I thought I should keep some notes/excerpts...

Part 1: The Best of The Best
Part 2: Clock Building, Not Time Telling
Part 3: No "Tyranny of The OR" (Embrace The "Genius of The AND")
Part 4: More Than Profits
Part 5: Preserve The Core / Stimulate Progress

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"Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory, nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1899

All companies have goals. But there is a difference between merely having a goal and becoming committed to a huge, daunting challenge - like a big mountain to climb.

Like a moon mission, a true Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG) is clear and compelling and serves as a unifying focal point of effirts - often creating immense team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.

A BHAG engages people - it reaches out and grabs them in the gut. It is tangible, energizing, highly focused. People "get it" right away; it takes little or no explanation.

It's not just the presence of a goal that stimulate progress,  it is also the level of commitment to the goal. Indeed, a goal cannot be classified as a BHAG without a high level of commitment to the goal.

Here are a few key take-away points you might want to keep in mind as you consider BHAGs for your own organization:
  • A BHAG should be so clear and compelling that it requires little or no explanation. Remember, a BHAG is a goal - like climbing a mountain or going to moon - not a "statement."  If it doesn't get people's juices going, then it's not a BHAG.
  • A BHAG should fall well outside the comfort zone. People in the organization should have reason to believe they can pull it off, yet it should require heroic effort and perhaps even a little luck.
  • A BHAG should be so bold and exciting in its own right that it would continue to stimulate progress even if the organization's leaders disappeared before it had been completed.
  • A BHAG has the inherent danger that, once achieved, an organization can stall and drift in the "we've arrived" syndrome. A company should be prepared to prevent this by having follow-on BHAGs. 
  • Finally, and most important at all, a BHAG should be consistent with a company's core ideology. 
 BHAGs alone do not make a visionary company. Indeed, progress alone - no matter  what the mechanism used to stimulate progress - doesn't make a visionary company. A company should be careful to preserve its core while pursuing BHAGs

Monday, October 14, 2013

Built to Last (5): Preserve The Core / Stimulate Progress


Had read "Built to Last" since a while; and realized that it's not just about building a company that would last for couple decades, but also it's about building a "Personality" & a "Nation" that could last for decades as well.

So, I thought I should keep some notes/excerpts...

Part 1: The Best of The Best
Part 2: Clock Building, Not Time Telling
Part 3: No "Tyranny of The OR" (Embrace The "Genius of The AND")

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We've found that companies get into trouble by confusing core ideology with specific, noncore practices. By confusing core ideology with noncore practices, companies can cling too long to noncore items - things that should be changed in order for the company to adapt and move forward. This brings us to a crucial point: A visionary company carefully preserves and protects its core ideology, yet all the specific manifestations of its core ideology must be open for change and evolution.


Drive For Progress:
Core ideology in a visionary company works hand in hand with a relentless drive for progress that impels change and forward movement in all that is not part of the core ideology. The drive for progress arises from a deep human urge - to explore, to create, to discover, to achieve, to change, to  improve. The drive for progress isn't a sterile, intellectual recognition that "progress is healthy in changing world" or that "healthy organizations should change and improve" or that "we should have goals"; rather, it's a deep, inner, compulsive - almost primal - drive.

Like a persistent and incurable itch, the drive for progress in a highly visionary company can never be satisfied under any conditions, even if the company succeeds enormously: "We can always do better; we can always go further; we can always find new possibilities." As Henry Ford said, "You have got to keep doing and going."


An Internal Drive:
Like core ideology, the drive for progress is an internal force. The drive for progress doesn't wait for the external world to say, "It's time to change" or "It's time to improve" or "It's time to invent something new". No, like the drive inside a great artist or prolific inventor, it is simply there, pushing outward and onward.


In visionary company, the drive to go further, to do better, to create new possibilities needs no external justifications.


We've found that organizations often have great intentions and inspiring visions for themselves, but they don't take the crucial step of translating their intentions into concrete items. Even worse, they often tolerate organization characteristics, strategies, and tactics that are misaligned with their admirable intentions, which creates confusion and cynicism. The gears and mechanisms of the ticking clock don't grind against each other but rather work in concert - in alignment with each other - to preserve the core and stimulate progress. The builders of the visionary companies seek alignments in strategies, in tactics, in organization systems, in structure, in incentive systems, in building layouts, in job design - in everything.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Built to Last (4): More Than Profits


Had read "Built to Last" since a while; and realized that it's not just about building a company that would last for couple decades, but also it's about building a "Personality" & a "Nation" that could last for decades as well.

So, I thought I should keep some notes/excerpts...

Part 1: The Best of The Best
Part 2: Clock Building, Not Time Telling
Part 3: No "Tyranny of The OR" (Embrace The "Genius of The AND")
------------------------
"We distinguish between core values and practices; the core values don't change, but the practices might." - John Young, Former CEO, Hewlett-Packard, 1992
  • Our research show that a fundamental element in the "ticking clock" of a visionary company is a core ideology - core values and sense of purpose beyond just making money - that guides and inspires people throughout the organization and remains relatively fixed for long periods of time.
  • Profitability is a necessary condition for existence and a means to more important ends, but it is not the end in itself for many of the visionary companies. Profit is like oxygen, food, water, and blood for the body; they are not the point of life, but without them, there is no life.
  • We did not find any specific ideological content essential to being a visionary company. Our research indicates that the authenticity of the ideology and the extent to which a company attains consistent alignment with the ideology counts more than the content of the ideology. 
  •  A key step in building a visionary company is to articulate a core ideology. Drawing upon what we saw in the visionary companies, we've created a practical two-part definition of core ideology. 
Core Ideology = Core Values + Purpose
Core Values = The organization's essential and enduring tenets - a small set of general guiding principals; not to be confused with specific culture or operating practising; not to be compromised for financial gain or short-term expediency.

Purpose = The organization's fundamental reason for existence beyond just making money - a perpetual guiding star on the horizon; not to be confused with specific goals or business strategies. 
  • Not all of the visionary companies began life with a well-articulated core ideology. So, if you haven't yet articulate a core ideology because you've been in the throes of launching a company, that's okay. But the earlier, the better.