Core ideology & visionary future according to Collins and Porras – “must-haves” of permanently successful companies.

A year ago today, no entrepreneur would have imagined the restrictions and challenges they are currently facing. Companies had to close their doors, reopen them, then close them again. Short-time work was introduced and extended. Homeoffice became common practice or a situational option to the physical office.

Collins and Porras (Built to Last) asked themselves what made companies successful in the long term. They found the answer in a holistic “corporate vision”, which is divided into a “core ideology” and a “visionary future”. Especially in times of extraordinary challenges and instability, these two parameters provide the necessary support on the one hand and secure orientation on the other.

The “core ideology” defines the timeless character of a company and should never change. Especially in times of change, it stands for stability, like the foundation of a building. You find it by looking into the core of a company: What makes the company tick? What are the core values and guiding principles? What is the core purpose, the reason for existence, the raison d’être, the intrinsic value?

You have to know who you are before you know where you are going. Successful companies draw an unerring line between things that can and must remain unchanged, representing the core of what they do, and those that must change adapted to current circumstances. They are masters in managing continuity and change.

The “visionary future” is the changeable part of the “corporate vision”. It describes the “Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG)”, the big audacious goals and the image of having achieved them. The more vividly the picture of the future is described, the more powerful its impact. Big hairy goals are daring, inspiring, perhaps even unreasonable. They drive people and move them in the right direction, towards the desired success. Passion, emotion and conviction are the essential ingredients. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up men to get wood, assign tasks and divide up the work, but teach men to long for the wide, endless sea.”

Successful companies are not afraid of failure in realising their “visionary future” and show remarkable adaptive skills. They design their organisational processes iteratively with the help of many small experiments.

While the “core ideology” is developed by discovering a company’s real inner workings, the “visionary future” is arrived at through a creative, creative process that combines imagination and fantasy.

Review your “core ideology” and “visionary future” today. Develop it, adapt it, live it. With the right amount of consistency and flexibility, you are on the safe path to long-term business success, regardless of all the storms and waves of the outside world.