From my esteemed colleague:
Posted by: Gideon Markman
Lose the concept of "lasting" and instead, think resilience.
1) Many of the "excellent companies" (Peters and Waterman, 1982), "built-to-last corporations" (Collins and Porras, 1994), and "good-to-great" firms (Collins, 2001) have now gone from great to, well, barely OK.
2) Given that such "reality," shouldn't we migrating from to a concept of "resilience" in which firms last 100s of years, or even north of one thousand?
3) In an upcoming article (Capture, Governance, and Resilience: Strategy Implications from the History of Rome) in the Strategic Management Journal, Carmeli and Markman feature the concept of "resilience through smallness."
4) After considering hundreds and studying more carefully 150 long-lasting firms that managed to outlast governments, nations, and cities, Carmeli and Markman learned that most multi-centennial firms—firms that endured for several-centuries, as Rome did—are actually small, frequently family-owned businesses.
5) Examples of "resilience through smallness" include: Japan’s Hoshi Hotel has been functioning since 718 AD; the Fonderia Pontificia Marinelli, a bell foundry in Italy, was founded in 1000 (with bells tolling in New York City, Beijing, and Jerusalem); the Venetian glassmakers, Barovier & Toso, were established in 1295; Richard de Bas, a French family business, makes paper since 1326 (their paper was used by Braque and Picasso); a Tuscan winemaker, the famous Antinori dynasty, has been producing its vintages since 1385; the Beretta family has been crafting guns in Italy since 1526; the oldest family firm in the United Kingdom, textile makers John Brooke & Sons, has been in business since 1541; and Kong? Gumi (a temple construction firm in Osaka, Japan) was the world's oldest independent company, operating for 1,429 years, since 578 until it was bought out in 2007.
6) Firms that expand gradually and organically extend their longevity no less, and perhaps even more, than those that grow through M&As;, albeit organic growth is appreciably slower.
7) As one might expect, resilience through smallness explains why many of the multi-centennial exemplars listed above reflect a narrow geo-product area—meaning, an enduring positioning that is quite "local" in terms of geographical location or product space.
Hope this helps to "stretch" our view from lasting firms to the concept of firm resilience and endurance.