Big Winners and Big Losers: The 4 Secrets of Long-Term Business Success and Failure

Overview


What keeps great companies winning, year after year, even as yesterday's most hyped businesses fall by the wayside? It's not what you think -- or what you've read. To find the real answers, strategic management expert Alfred Marcus systematically reviewed detailed performance metrics for the 1,000 largest U.S. corporations, identifying 3% who've consistently outperform their industry's averages for a full decade. Many of these firms get little publicity: firms like Amphenol, Ball, Family Dollar, Brown and Brown,...
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Overview


What keeps great companies winning, year after year, even as yesterday's most hyped businesses fall by the wayside? It's not what you think -- or what you've read. To find the real answers, strategic management expert Alfred Marcus systematically reviewed detailed performance metrics for the 1,000 largest U.S. corporations, identifying 3% who've consistently outperform their industry's averages for a full decade. Many of these firms get little publicity: firms like Amphenol, Ball, Family Dollar, Brown and Brown, Activision, Dreyer's, Forest Labs, and Fiserv. But their success is no accident: they've discovered patterns of success that have largely gone unnoticed elsewhere. Marcus also identified patterns associated with consistently inferior performance: patterns reflected in many of the world's most well-known companies. Drawing on this unprecedented research, Big Winners and Big Losers shows you what really matters most. You'll learn how consistent winners build the strategies that drive their success; how they move towards market spaces offering superior opportunity; and how they successfully manage the tensions between agility, discipline, and focus. You'll learn how to identify the right patterns of success for your company, build on the strengths you already have, realistically assess your weaknesses, and build sustainable advantage one step at a time, in a planned and logical way.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132762311
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 7/5/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Alfred A. Marcus is Edson Spencer Chair of Strategic Management and Technological leadership at the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, where he has been on the faculty since 1984. At Carlson, he teaches and conducts research in strategic management, macroeconomics, business ethics, and business and the natural environment. He has also served as Visiting Professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management. Marcus is author or coeditor of eleven books and has published numerous articles in journals, such as the Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, California Management Review, and The Journal of Forecasting. He has consulted and worked with many major corporations including 3M, Corning, Excel Energy, General Mills, and IBM.
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Table of Contents

Preface.

About the Author.

I. INTRODUCTION.

1. Persistent Winning and Losing.

2. Companies That Hit and Missed the Mark.

II. WINNERS.

3. Companies That Keep Winning.

4. Sweet Spots.

5. Agility.

6. Discipline.

7. Focus.

III. LOSERS.

8. Companies That Keep Losing.

9. Sour Spots.

10. Rigidity.

11. Ineptness.

12. Diffuseness.

IV. CONCLUSION.

13. Winning and Losing Practices.

14. Turnarounds.

Appendix A. Best Sellers Compared.

Appendix B. Using the Stock Market as an Indicator of Performance.

Appendix C. Additional Data on the Companies.

Appendix D. Patterns of Winning and Losing Companies.

Acknowledgments.

Sources.

Endnotes.

Index.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2007

    Position your business for success with this clear guide

    Alfred A. Marcus¿s book is so clear and easy to read you may think it¿s simple to identify and practice his main ideas. That is deceptive. Marcus identifies four qualities that define winning companies and four qualities that define losers. In analyzing why some companies are profitable year after year, the author focuses on nine ¿big winners¿ and nine ¿big losers.¿ He isolates their characteristics, and uses narratives, numbers and charts to illustrate the winning strategies they use to develop market dominance. He admits that identifying winning qualities in other companies is easier than recognizing them in your own organization. Are you disciplined in maintaining your core vision, or do you tend to be rigid and cling to exhausted strategies? Sometimes, the answers are clear only in retrospect, often when it¿s too late. Nevertheless, we find that the author¿s insistence on utilizing core business principles is applicable in any market.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2005

    A frame work for managers

    ¿Big Winners and Big Losers¿ is a well researched and thoroughly written book. I would recommend it to top management teams as well business unit leaders because they are closer to the action. Dr. Marcus does such a great job illuminating the successes and failures with such detail and specifics. I could only imagine the level of work put into this research. Unlike a lot of other books, the detail and intertwining the key elements for success offered in this work provides for a clear blue print that is easily readable. As I was reading this, I wondered to myself how could this be used within a corporate setting to provide value and organizational learning. There are a lot of cases within the research that can be used to educate. Much of the failures as described in the book come from not understanding the real options that are out there. This book helps the manager think through the processes to discover potential options with a framework and a wealth of successful examples. This makes me wonder about organizational inertia that continues to stifle companies large and small today. This leads me to ask the question. Can we really change organizations? I would argue that in some instances we can but in many cases it is a loosing cause. No one has a monopoly of information. Business education is abundant today. How else do you explain the failures? This book is a great starting point in addressing these failures. The question is ultimately will people listen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2005

    A big winner

    This is another insightful book by Professor Marcus. In 'Big Winners and Big Losers' he continues his long-standing tradition of providing rigorously researched and well-written books that demonstrate a deep understanding of the underlying tensions and dynamics of developing and sustaining successful business strategies. The examples in the book are outstanding, and the recommendations of Professor Marcus are superior.

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