Built to Last

Events around me have caused me to be thinking about how an organization can thrive across long periods of time. Not just points in time, but across decades. How does an organization continue to move forward into the future, accomplishing its mission without getting distracted, lost or even disappearing?

There are so many examples of really great companies that just went away. Kodak and Polaroid are examples of well respected companies that were at the top of their game at one point and now they are gone. The same happens with non-profits, churches, organizations, etc.

Jim Collins wrote the book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Harper Business Essentials) which tells the story of companies that have lasted a long time and seemed to prosper over the years. I’ve not read the book but I might. I did scan the Blinkist post on that book and it doesn’t quite seem to hit what I’m looking for right now. The summary does state that these organizations seem to have a higher purpose and that they relentlessly pursue progress.

It seems to me that it is about the people. The leadership and the culture.

I’ve seen companies and organizations lose their way and it is heart breaking. It seems that it is due to the people more than external factors.

How do you build an organization that moves forward successfully across decades of time pursuing worthy goals?

Your thoughts are welcome.

Celebrate Those Who Get Things Done

Read something a few days ago that I can no longer find to reference. It got me thinking that we should celebrate those who get things done, not the ones who cast a vision or who are the appointed leaders. The ones who get things done are the ones we go to when we need help, when we have problems, when there are hard problems to solve. We don’t need a vision in those situations, we just need to get something done.

We need to be better at identifying these people in our organizations and honoring them in whatever fashion is appropriate. And we need to develop a sense of think about them, looking out for them and helping them get things done faster.

Maybe leaders should focus on getting obstacles out of the way of those who are getting things done?

Been gone for a while. Been busy, but aren’t we all? Wrote a bit about it over here.

An Integrated Health Database

It is interesting to note that the Apple Health application isn’t taking off very quickly. Several of the related apps that I use do not share data with the Health database, but they are willing to take data from the database. The program Lose It! connects but only draw nutrient data from the database and doesn’t share its own data. Fitbit has not expressed much interest and is not sharing. It is even surprising that Nike doesn’t share data yet, but I suspect they will soon.

This database will not be valuable unless various apps are willing to share their data which many likely won’t do. These sites would prefer that users have to visit their applications or web site (to see ads) and they don’t want it consolidated elsewhere.

Several possible scenarios might unfold:

  1. Applications vendors will choose not to take part (share) and the database will never reach a level where it has a complete picture of one’s health. At some point in the future it will quietly disappear.
  2. New vendors and applications will arise who want to play in this space and they will supplant the incumbents by providing this connectivity and this integration and users will shift away from the leading apps today to these new ones. In short, this is a time of disruption. Or
  3. Apple will be the main user of the database and a few other parties and it will never go very far beyond where Apple invests.

All of his ignores legal and privacy questions or challenges which might affect it too.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if Google and Apple got together and used the same integrated database so applications built on either platform could share in the same format? Oh, sorry, I was just thinking…