Scaling Up : How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’tVerne Harnish
Handling a company’s growth successfully requires three things:
- an increasing number of capable leaders.
- a scalable infrastructure.
- an effective marketing function.
Focus on People: Building a strong team of talented individuals who align with your company’s core values is crucial for successful growth. Invest in hiring and retaining top talent and ensure everyone is working towards a common goal.
Establish a Clear Strategy: Develop a compelling strategy that outlines your company’s core values, long-term goals, and differentiation from competitors. This strategy should guide decision-making and provide a clear direction for the company.
Execution is Key: Having a great strategy is not enough; effective execution is vital. Establish a rhythm of meetings, set priorities, and implement metrics to ensure progress and accountability. Regularly review and adjust your execution plan as needed.
Manage Cash Flow: Cash flow management is a significant challenge during periods of rapid growth. Implement strategies to accelerate receivables, manage inventory efficiently, and negotiate favorable terms with suppliers. Consistently monitor and optimize your cash flow to support growth.
Build a Strong Brand: Differentiate your company from competitors by building a strong brand that resonates with customers. Clearly communicate your value proposition and consistently deliver on your brand promise to build trust and loyalty.
Scalability and Expansion: Develop a scalable infrastructure to support growth and expansion. This includes implementing efficient processes, leveraging technology, and adapting the organizational structure to accommodate increased demand. Explore opportunities to expand into new markets and continually seek ways to sustain growth.
Accountability vs Responsibility vs Authority
Accountability: This belongs to the ONE person who has the “ability to
count” — who is tracking the progress and giving voice (screaming loudly)
when issues arise within a defined task, team, function, or division. It doesn’t
mean he or she makes all the decisions (or even any decisions) — which is
why people often talk about leaderless teams. However, someone must still be
accountable. The rule: If more than one person is accountable, then no one is
accountable, and that’s when things fall through the cracks.
Responsibility: This falls to anyone with the “ability to respond” proactively
to support the team. It includes all the people who touch a particular process
Authority: This belongs to the person or team with the final decision-making
7 Strata of strategy
- What word(s) do you own in the minds of your targeted customers (e.g.,
Google owns “search”)?
- Who are your core customers, what three Brand Promises are you making
them (e.g., Southwest Airlines promises Low Fares, Lots of Flights, Lots of
Fun), and how do you know you’re keeping these promises (Kept Promise
Indicators, a play on KPIs)?
- What is your Brand Promise Guarantee (e.g., Oracle has been advertising
the chance to win $10 million if its Exadata servers don’t outperform the
competition by a factor of five)?
- What is your One-PHRASE Strategy that likely upsets customers (Apple’s
“closed system”) but is key to making a ton of money and blocking your
- What are the three to five Activities that fit Harvard strategist Michael
Porter’s definition of the essence of differentiation (e.g., IKEA’s furniture
- What is your X-Factor — a 10 times to 100 times underlying advantage
over the competition — that completely wipes out any and all rivals?
- What are your Profit per X (economic driver) and BHAG® for the