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Jerry Porras - Visionary


Submitted By zebra
Words 1045
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April 9, 2012

Visionary and Enduring Companies

Jerry Porras’ video about leadership and vision was thought provoking. The last few years of my college education; I’ve learned that there are many different philosophies, theories and leadership models or styles that you should follow to be a great leader. So I thought that this was another motivational speech that would rally your thoughts and give you the drive or foresight to be the best leader. Instead he made me think and I answered the simple basic questions he posed. When Porras talked about leadership, he asked simple questions, as a leader where do you see yourself or the world in the future, and how does it affect the way you lead? Porras’ co-wrote a book called “Built to Last” which studied the fundamental differences about visionary companies and how they differ from other companies. A visionary company is a company that had or has a significant impact on the world. It is also a company that is widely admired by its peers and that it has a long track record of success. It also has multiple generations of leaders, product growth and a successful industry cycle. An enduring company is defined as a company that is thriving and doing well for at least a period of ten years. Porras talked about companies who in the beginning where small, then grew to medium and continued to grow. These companies had to endure the pain of ups and downs and turbulent times but in the long run they remained viable. With the market, comparison and visionary companies; the comparison companies out preformed the market company four to one, and the visionary companies out performed sixteen to one. Companies that had high performance were also involved in their community and also had an impact on the culture. In leaderships roles you have a founder of the company or you could have a leader who is responsible for the transformation of a company. A great leader is someone who is powerful, articulate in their vision, passionate, inspirational, unconventional, willing to incur great personal risks, charismatic and highly motivated to lead. This all equates to a charismatic visionary leader who is admired and respected by his or her peers. This person also aspires to be a great leader who will create a great organization. Another view of a leader could be someone who is soft spoken, gentle, serious, humble, modest, thoughtful, good listener, shy, unobtrusive and quiet. These leaders are usually the founder of the company and people find them more relatable. They are considered built to last leaders who built enduring companies with a great organizational structure. Porras’ compared Motorola and Zenith who were both founded around the same time and were in the same industry of television. The founders of these companies passed away within two years of one another, however, Zenith became stagnate in their company vision and they kept producing televisions. However, Motorola had foresight and continued to grow and expand their product base. So the key difference between these two companies is that the new leader and management team of Motorola paid attention to creativity and leading the organization into the future. So comparison companies have charismatic visionary leaders who focus on leading their organization and visionary companies have built to last leaders that focus on building their organization. In building a great organization you need to build people, culture, structures and technology. Porras also compared General Electric and Westinghouse, where George Westinghouse was an innovator, inventor and engineer who was creative and build his company. On the other hand Charles Coffin knew what direction he wanted for his company and hired people to be creative for him. Regardless of what style of leadership you take, if you’re a team leader and have vision you can build an enduring company. Porras spoke about Steve Jobs and the fact that Steve Jobs is Apple. Jobs at the time, was a charismatic visionary leader who built Apple around his personality, brilliance and creativity. When he left Apple the company morale, value and vision suffered, when he returned the company did an about face. Steve Jobs turned Apple into an enduring company. Steve Jobs had focus, simplicity, innovation and a keen sense of the competition. Since Steve Jobs passing, what is Apples vision and will the company continue to prosper? I read an article from the new CEO Tim Allen, who stated that they will continue its focus on the IPhones, IPads and tablets. Additional focus will be on growth in the Asian market, specifically China. It has been only a few months and the indications are that Apple will continue to grow, but it’s too early to make any predictions. Again Jerry Porras asks simple straight to the point questions, how do you become a built to last leader? You clarify who you are and what you want, the needs versus the wants. Think about your personal vision, figure out how you’re going to get there, and define your purpose. Then guide your behavior and figure out what your core values are. These are the key values in life that you wouldn’t compromise on. Then set your goals. These goals should be challenging, but obtainable; they should force you to learn new skills, trades, technologies and promote change. So now that you have these tools and you need to realize that some core values will limit your goals. Remember to challenge goals but keep your core values and your integrity. With these tools you can build an organization consistent with who you are and what you want. As a leader, whatever path you choose it should fit you, your goals, values and purpose in life. You also want to work for or with an organization that has the same characteristics that you believe in, such as an organization that has a strong core ideology and shares the same passion for growth and change. Passion for change includes, learning, experimenting, stretching and taking risks. Jerry Porras makes it clear by stating that core values never change, and passion for change means drive to change everything else in order to achieve you goals. Again simply stated, Porras reminds us of our own personal strengths, goals and core values.

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