Having a single unifying principle is critical- for great works of architecture, for building great companies, and for life.
A single thought guiding all actions that you take, removes all uncertainty from your decision-making process.
One overarching principle or idea can inspire thousands of others. But there is a problem with this approach. It is an all-or-nothing way of looking at things. No exceptions. Since everything that you do is based off that one single thought or an idea, one moment of weakness can completely destroy all that you have built.
This is pretty hard to implement in companies. Apple, anyone? The extremes to which they go to make this work. The maniacal genius of Steve Jobs to follow his vision till the very end definitely would have taken a toll on the rest of the company- but it worked.
This seems to be a common thread. Wherever you find greatness- there is this unyielding commitment to a single thought or an idea. That which engulfs the entire lives of these founders and builders and artists- and leaves scope for nothing else, no other contradictions.
This is hard to build in a company- it is even harder to implement in your personality and character. Our default settings are shades of gray. We are whimsical creatures, changing our decisions and actions based on transient feelings. Sticking to that one single unifying idea in life can be so very hard.
But the results and returns that come from doing so are disproportionately great. It takes guts to stick to it- but it is all worth it at the end. For a great work of architecture, for a building, and for life.