Chris Zook

We call this dynamic the “Growth Paradox:” Growth creates complexity and yet complexity is the number one killer of profitable growth. You cannot win on the outside, in the marketplace, if you are losing on the inside, with an organization stifled by its own growth.

How to Pull Your Company Out of a Tailspin

At any given moment, about 5%–7% of companies either are in free fall or are about to be. Free fall is a crisis of obsolescence and decline that can happen at any point in a company’s life cycle, but most often it affects maturing incumbents whose business model has come under competitive attack from insurgents or is no longer viable in a changing market. And … [ Read more ]

Getting Growth Back at Your Company

Chris Zook of Bain explains the predictable crises of growth and how to overcome them.

The Greatest Barriers to Growth, According to Executives

Most internal organizational barriers result from complexity and bureaucracy that has accumulated as leaders scaled up their businesses. We call this dynamic the “Growth Paradox:” Growth creates complexity and yet complexity is the number one killer of profitable growth. You cannot win on the outside, in the marketplace, if you are losing on the inside, with an organization stifled by its own growth. But what … [ Read more ]

Chris Zook

What [is] an “adjacency” to one company [is] the “core” to someone else and companies consistently underestimated how hard competitors [will] fight to defend their core.

The Strategic Principles of Repeatability

How can a company sustain profitable growth?

It’s no easy feat. As a benchmark, consider an annual growth rate in revenue and earnings of 5.5%. Most companies say they expect to attain that level or better— at least that’s what their strategic plans call for. But a Bain & Company study of more than 2,000 companies indicates that only about one in 10 actually … [ Read more ]

The Great Repeatable Leader

In an effort to cover all the bases in an uncertain, changing world companies are trying to give themselves as many strategic and organizational options as possible. In doing so, however, they are making themselves unconsciously more complex organizations. It is a trend that’s slowly and silently killing them. Complexity turns people inward and distorts information flow, slowing the pace of decision-making down and making … [ Read more ]

Getabstract.com: Unstoppable

Here is a summary of the concluding volume in Chris Zook’s trilogy on the business core. The previous two books focused on supporting, exploiting and expanding your core business, whereas this book shows you what to do when your position in the marketplace is under threat. Zook points out the dangers of defending your core until your company dies, or of jumping to the next … [ Read more ]

What to do when growth hits a wall

What do most companies do when their formula for success has stalled? Many leap into new markets or consider risky mergers. But rarely do such moves pay off. Instead, we find that companies choosing instead to mine their hidden assets – assets they already possess but have failed to tap for maximum growth potential – can go from unsustainable to unstoppable growth.

The New Math of Profitable Growth

“How can companies find sources of new, profitable growth? Our analysis indicates that most new growth will come from pushing the boundaries of a strong core business into ‘adjacent’ territory. This is different from the past, when companies typically sought growth from either expanding their core businesses or improving their weaker businesses or from diversifying and pursuing hot markets.

When we examined the growth records … [ Read more ]

Strategies for Growth

This article is a follow-up to “The Facts About Growth,” which explored the findings of an extensive study by Bain & Company of the factors leading to consistent company value creation. While the early part of this article is repetitive of the earlier article, the latter part offers some good new insight.

The Facts About Growth

Only a small minority of companies succeed in creating shareholder value over long periods of time, even when they manage to grow revenues. Many companies enjoy temporary spurts of growth, only to see their gains erode under the onslaught of competitors. And even those who achieve sustained revenue gains are often surprised to find no corresponding gain in shareholder value. Yet a handful of companies … [ Read more ]

Panning for Gold: The Power of Customer Segmentation in Online Retailing

All customers are not created equal. The companies that excel, both in the short and long term, are those that are not only thoughtful about where they acquire customers, but also learn to quickly segment the profitable, loyal ones from the fool’s gold of bargain hunters.

The Jenga Phenomenon: How eCommerce Is Reassembling Industry

challenges each player to remove as many blocks as possible from a cross-hatched tower of wooden beams and to use them to build additional stories, all without causing the tower to crash.Although the name connotes “building,” the game is about both disassembly and reassembly, and as such forms a fitting analogy for the way eCommerce is plucking out key blocks or leveling and rebuilding towers … [ Read more ]