We saw yesterday the outlines of excellence as suggested by author Jim Collins. We also thought about how it would look if applied to ourselves personally. But how do we achieve this beatific end state? We know the outputs, but what should the inputs be? Well, why not take a leaf out of the same author’s books?
Key here is the concept of ‘time tellers’ versus ‘clock builders’. Who is a time teller? In today’s day and age of a million startups, a time teller could be a person with an amazing idea. Just like he can tell the time perfectly, he can call out the most outlandish but supremely successful idea of the time, ahead of anyone else. And the clock builder? I think this one is obvious. Important to think about, a clock once built, needs no time teller.
Jim’s research suggests a negative correlation between starting a company with a great and successful idea, and becoming an enduring, great company. Wow isn’t that amazing? And here’s the follow-up. “It actually turns out that many of the greatest companies started with failures, setbacks, things that were catastrophes early on. And it was the very fact that they had no success at the start that played a big role in them building the muscle strength to say, you can think of it as I’m going to have a successful innovation versus I’m going to build the muscle to innovate, right, which would be more durable.“
So it boils down really to stellar execution. Discipline, patience and perseverance. Probably answers that sound boring. But while ‘culture may eat strategy for breakfast’, perhaps consistency can eat talent for lunch!