In a recent Inc. magazine article, Jason Fried wrote concerning private companies that had been in business for a long time, at least 25 years. One of the points of his article is that those who are aspiring to have great companies should look to these companies that have stood the test of time for “inspiration and insight (Fried, p.56).” When I think of companies like these, the word that comes to mind is endurance. Webster’s on-line dictionary gives the meaning of endure, “to continue to exist in the same state or condition, to undergo (as a hardship), especially without giving in.”
There are many reasons why enduring companies can provide valuable lessons for those companies that are starting up or have been in business just a few years. Below are three that stand out.
- Experience– Experience is a great teacher. Some great and valuable lessons can only be learned through experience and experience takes time. Joseph Grassadonia is the editor-in-chief of OnFitness Magazine. He still surfs the big waves of Hawaii at the age of 62. How? He explains, “I may lack the fitness and endurance I had as a young guy, but my experience in big waves plays a big factor (Hines II, p.57).”
- Knowledge– We all understand that deep knowledge in any field is essential for success in that field. Geoff Colvin said that “When Jeff Immelt became GE’s chief in 2001, he launched a study of the best-performing companies worldwide-those that had grown much faster than the economy for many years and had produced excellent returns for shareholders. One key trait the study found was that these companies valued “domain expertise” in managers-extensive knowledge of the company’s field.” Please note that Immelt went on to explain, “The most successful parts of GE are places where leaders have stayed in place a long time (Colvin, p.97).” Companies that have endured through the years have a tremendous amount of knowledge.
- Practice– Years and years consistently striving to perfect the habits of solid business principles results in an enduring company. John Wooden stated, “When you see a successful individual, a champion, a “winner,” you can be very sure that you are looking at an individual who pays great attention to the perfection of minor details (Wooden, p.63).” The very same can be said of enduring companies.
*Fried, Jason, (2014), Inc. July/August 2014
*Hines II, Dwayne, (2014), OnFitness July/August 2014
*Colvin, Geoff, (2010), Talent Is Overrated
*Wooden, John, Jamison, Steve, (1997), Wooden