How everyday companies become extra-ordinary performers
by Keith McFarland, Business School Dean 2008 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz 7/12
“The Breakthrough Company” book helps entrepreneurs navigate the hyper-growth that companies pass through on the way to becoming market leaders. In the spirit of Jim Collins’ Good to Great, author Keith R. McFarland undertook an extensive study of small growth companies that grew from $5 million to $250 million in revenue, comparing them with peer companies that didn’t fare as well. In this study, he covers several themes relating to growth: shifting goals from the Founder’s success to that of the company; investing in new markets & approaches (including how & when to do that); and making the transition from being nimble to competing with scalable advantages.
He also does an impressive job of identifying the support resources that a great Founder/ CEOs use to navigate the path to success, including board members & internal challenges. McFarland is the Dean of the Pepperdine University School of Business – and he did his homework for this book. The multiyear academic study looked at more than 7,000 companies, and included 1,500 interviews with executives.
Big ideas from “The Breakthrough Company”Counter-Intuitive observations:
• None of the nine (9) success stories received early-stage funding. They only obtained growth capital after they had already achieved success.
• At the time they started out, the leaders were not in Wall Street’s “hot categories.”
• Level of education doesn’t seem to matter much. Although two of the Founder/CEOs attended Harvard Business School, the others’ educational backgrounds varied widely.
• The classic business-school advice “Stick to your knitting” doesn’t always lead to victory. Sometimes you need to change markets and redefine skills for success.
• Rather than look for extraordinary people, build an organization that lets ordinary people do extraordinary things.
Crowning the company – Founder/CEOs need to focus their employees on the company’s success rather than the Founder’s success. As organizations grow, the organization’s ideas, decisions & employees need to focus on building the company. That’s their business & mission. Key areas to focus on include:
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