James Collins and Jerry Porras are two Stanford University researchers that studied the eighteen most visionary companies in the world to determine the secret of their success. They titled their book, ‘Built to Last.”
Collins and Porras discovered that most of the world’s top flight corporations had difficult beginnings. When Masaru Ibuka founded Sony in 1945 he had no idea what he wanted to make. He considered a wide range of possibilities from sweetened bean-paste soup to miniature golf equipment. He finally settled on electronics and produced a rice cooker that did not work and a tape recorder that failed to sell. To keep the struggling company afloat they resorted to stitching wires on cloth to make crude heating pads. The company that brings so much wizardry and innovation to life started out selling heating pads!
Sony’s experience was not the exception. Nearly all eighteen of the most visionary companies in the world struggled to survive at some point in their lives. Many times they found success producing products that they did not set out to make. Collins and Porras wrote:
“J. Willard Marriott (Marriott Hotels) . . . decided to start his company with the only viable idea he could think of: take out a franchise license and open an A&W root beer stand. . . Procter & Gamble started as a simple soap and candle maker . . . Motorola began as a struggling battery eliminator repair business for Sears radios.”
We think that successful people are naturally gifted with some fabulous earth shaking idea and that they cruise to triumph without a care. According to Collins and Porras that is not true. The secret of success was not so much in the charisma of the leader as it was in his perseverance and a dogged determination.
Can I invade your privacy long enough to ask, a personal question? How is it going? I mean really going? How’s your dream coming? Is it tough? Are you about ready to give in and give up? Let me encourage you to take a lesson from the world’s finest. Stay open for unexpected opportunities and don’t quit. Who knows? You might be the next Masaru Ibuka.
Here’s a verse that always encourages me. I hope it helps you.
(1 Corinthians 15:58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.