Growth for the Rest of Us


How have some companies found growth despite the odds? BCG research offers lessons from “uphill growers.”


BCG talks about uphill growth — mature business that found ways to grow sustainably– and suggests that it is important to consider key components of the organizations starting point to help define where growth will come from.  The key components are competitive premium (higher gross profit margin) and competitive stability (relatively stable market shares, high entry barriers, etc).

The successful growth companies shared the following characteristics, they: 1. Earn the right to grow 2. Know their competitive advantage 3. Expand their field of vision 4. Integrate vision, choices and action.

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The benefits—and limits—of decision models | McKinsey & Company

Big data and models help overcome biases that cloud judgment, but many executive decisions also require bold action inspired by self-confidence. Here’s how to take charge in a clear-headed way. 

This McKinsey Quarterly article landed in my inbox today.  It argues for the need to use a combination of leadership talent, execution and inspiration as well as predictive models and date to make excellent decisions.   “Players don’t predict performance; they have to achieve it. For that purpose, impartial and dispassionate analysis is insufficient.  Positive thinking matters, too.”   We certainly need big data — to analyze it, understand it, and make use of it.  At the same time, we need big human thinking, inspiration, perspiration and teamwork to make sense and use of it all. See it on

Bad to great: The path to scaling up excellence | McKinsey & Company

Before senior executives try to spread best practices, they should use seven techniques to clear out the negative behavior that stands in the way. 

Stanford’s Huggy Rao and Robert Sutton give some compelling arguments for curtailing bad behavior:

  1. Nip it in the bud
  2. Plumbing before poetry (go for getting rid of the nitty gritty negativity!!)
  3. Adequacy before excellence
  4. Use the ‘cool kids’ (and adults) to define and squelch bad behavior
  5. Kill the thrill
  6. Try time shifting: From current to future selves
  7. Focus on the best of times, the worst of times, and the end

The article is an overview of their upcoming book: Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More without Settling for Less.  Sounds like a good read…

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