James Allen, Scott Leibs

As companies move from insurgent to incumbent the original culture is often lost. A variety of factors contribute, but one in particular concerns talent management: As you implement more systems, you tend to hire the kinds of people who are comfortable working within, or running, systems. You jump from a “time of heroes” to a culture reshaped by hastily implemented systems that may drive away … [ Read more ]

The Five Lenses: Creating Ideas that Win

Finding new opportunities can be one of the biggest challenges for left-brained leaders of companies. That’s because many companies rely on a traditional brainstorming process that might yield hundreds of small ideas, but few that evolve into ventures worth exploring. In this brief audio presentation, Bain Partner James Allen discusses a different approach that companies are using to identify promising ideas and turn them into … [ Read more ]

The Five Pillars of Sustainable Growth

Many companies set high expectations for growth, but few manage to expand sustainably and profitably year after year. In this brief audio presentation, Partner James Allen explains how five business principles can help companies can turn fast growth into long-term value.

Global Growth

Most of the executives we talk with at global multinational companies (MNCs) spend a lot of time scrutinizing the developing world. They know about the growth potential. If they’re not already operating in Indonesia or Poland or Nigeria, they’re making plans to do so. What they’re not seeing, often, are the obstacles to success. Building a large-scale business in the developing world—capitalizing on that world’s … [ Read more ]

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 ]

Resolving the CEO’s Dilemma

A series of more than 25 interviews with CEOs showed that many men and women are able to assert control over the job rather than let themselves be dominated by it. They are able to meet the challenges, pursue their agendas and accomplish great things.

Closing the Delivery Gap

Most companies assume they’re consistently giving customers what they want. Usually, they’re kidding themselves. When we recently surveyed 362 firms, we found that 80% believed they delivered a “superior experience” to their customers. But when we then asked customers about their own perceptions, we heard a very different story.

Value-chain accountability: Making the numbers add up

Boardrooms have replaced barricades as the new front line in the debate over globalisation. Companies, governments and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) are engaged in ongoing discussions nowadays about the risks and opportunities of global business expansion. It seems a long way from the clashes marked by protestors shouting in the streets. Yet the new civility hasn’t yet cracked some vital questions: How will these groups now … [ Read more ]

One Number to Grow

This summary of Fred Reichheld’s work, which appeared in the Harvard Business Review last December, reveals how the percentage of customers enthusiastic enough to refer a friend or colleague – perhaps the strongest sign of customer loyalty – correlates with differences in growth rates among competitors in many industries. By substituting a single question for the complex black box of the typical customer satisfaction … [ Read more ]

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 ]