Sunday, May 28, 2017

Value of Core Principles and Big Ideas

In their article, Building Your Company’s Vision, Collins and Porras assert that the foundation of a lasting and successful company is a stable, intrinsic commitment to core values as well as the dynamic but audacious pursuit of goals. For those who struggle to appreciate the significance of how powerful these tenets are, how they culminate in value for an institution (e.g. a corporation), and how they precede the pursuit of any strategy, one can turn to the globally recognized company: Alphabet.

Alphabet began as the search engine company, Google, and has since undergone immense evolution rooted in its internal commitment to foster innovation. Perhaps the greatest testament to its enduring core qualities is evidenced by the following consideration: in October 2015 Google renamed itself to Alphabet to ensure that its businesses had “more independence and freedom to grow” (Goldman). In effect, Google’s own name lacked a timeless endurance, while the commitment to innovation was put first. This is similar, in concept, to the examples of Dave Packard or Walt Disney who left behind core principles that endured beyond themselves.

Unlike many companies that commit to principles and ambitions as a matter of “wordsmithery” Alphabet actually fulfills the most important after-action of an audacious goal: providing a “level of commitment to the goal that counts” (Collins and Porras). The truest testimony to this comes from its own employees. Former employee and entrepreneur Brett Crosby reflects on great aspects of the culture and specifically highlights its seminars that encouraged “crazy science-fiction ideas” and how to turn them “into realities–like space elevators… and self-driving cars” (Crosby). Today we can see in Alphabet’s incorporation, a set of businesses that stretch from combating age-related diseases to smart homes to Google X—which works on the big breakthroughs (Goldman).

Lastly, as a testament to the efficacy of a culture of innovation and a commitment to big ideas, many namesake Google products can be attributed to the innovations of small teams who used the culture’s infamous”20% time” to effect their ideas, including Google News, AdSense, and Gmail (Boran). It would seem an inevitable takeaway then that Alphabet did not maneuver itself into these lines of business in a corporate strategy session, but instead it created an environment that visible endorsed and materially supported a culture. From there, Google was able to attract and support the right teammates who could help autonomously mature it into its present form: a global model for the value of embracing core principles.

References

Boran, Marie. Innovation or overtime? Mystery surrounds Google’s ‘20% time’. 30 March 2017. Web. 28 May 2017. <http://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/innovation-or-overtime-mystery-surrounds-google-s-20-time-1.3027793>.
Collins, James C and Jerry I Porras. "Building Your Company's Vision." Harvard Business Review (1996). 28 May 2017.
Crosby, Brett. "Four Lessons On Work Culture That I Learned At Google." Fast Company 26 May 2016. Web. 28 May 2017. <https://www.fastcompany.com/3060238/four-lessons-on-work-culture-that-i-learned-at-google>.
Goldman, David. Google will become Alphabet today. 2 October 2015. 28 May 2017. <http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/02/technology/google-alphabet/>.



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