Jerry I. Porras

American writer

Jerry I. Porras (born September 20, 1938) is an American organizational theorist, Lane Professor Emeritus of Organizational Behavior and Change at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is best known from the co-author with James C. Collins of the 1994 book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, which was listed second in the Most Influential Management Books list of 2002.


  • Organizational change is a set of behavioral science-based theories, values, strategies, and techniques aimed at the planned change of the organizational work setting for the purpose of enhancing individual development and improving organizational performance, through the alteration of organizational members' on-the-job behaviors.
    • Jerry I. Porras and Peter J. Robertson (1992). "Organisational development: Theory, practice and research", in: M. Dunnette, L. Hough (Eds), Consulting Psychologist Press, Palo Alto, p. 723
  • The essential difference with Builders is that they've found something to do that matters to them and are therefore so passionately engaged, they rise above the personality baggage that would otherwise hold them down. Whatever they are doing has so much meaning to them that the cause itself provides charisma and they plug into it as if it was electrical current.
    • Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery and Mark Thompson. Success Built to Last: Creating A Life That Matters, Wharton School Publishing, 2006. p. 110

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, 1994


James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. HarperBusiness, 1994.

See James C. Collins#Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, 1994

"Building your company's vision," 1996


James C. Collins, and Jerry I. Porras. "Building your company's vision." Harvard business review 74.5 (1996).

  • Companies that enjoy enduring success have core values and a core purpose that remain fixed while their business strategies and practices endlessly adapt to a changing world. The dynamic of preserving the core while stimulating progress is the reason that companies such as Hewlett-Packard, 3M, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Merck, Sony, Motorola, and Nordstrom became elite institutions able to renew themselves and achieve superior long-term performance.
    • p. 65
  • Core ideology provides the glue that holds an organization together as it grows, decentralizes, diversifies, expands globally, and develops workplace diversity. Think of it as analogous to the principles of Judaism that held the Jewish people together for centuries without a homeland, even as they spread throughout the Diaspora. Or think of the truths held to be self-evident in the Declaration of Independence, or the enduring ideals and principles of the scientific community that bond scientists from every nationality together in the common purpose of advancing human knowledge. Any effective vision must embody the core ideology of the organization, which in turn consists of two distinct parts: core values, a system of guiding principles and tenets; and core purpose, the organization’s most fundamental reason for existence.
    • p. 66
  • In addition to vision-level BHAGs [shorthand for Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals], an envisioned future needs what we call vivid description – that is, a vibrant, engaging, and specific description of what it will be like to achieve the BHAG. Think of it as translating the vision from words into pictures, of creating an image that people can carry around in their heads. It is a question of painting a picture with your words. Picture painting is essential for making the 10-to-30- year BHAG tangible in people’s minds.
    • p. 74
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