The Breakthrough Company: How Everyday Companies Become Extraordinary Performers

Overview

Based on a five-year, 7,000-company study

The vast majority of small businesses stay small–and not by choice. Only the most savvy and persistent–a tiny one tenth of one percent–break through to the very highest ranks. In The Breakthrough Company, technology CEO and Fortune 500 consultant Keith McFarland draws upon an extensive empirical study to reveal exactly how everyday companies become extraordinary, showing that breakthrough success is associated with a clearly identifiable...

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The Breakthrough Company: How Everyday Companies Become Extraordinary Performers

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Overview

Based on a five-year, 7,000-company study

The vast majority of small businesses stay small–and not by choice. Only the most savvy and persistent–a tiny one tenth of one percent–break through to the very highest ranks. In The Breakthrough Company, technology CEO and Fortune 500 consultant Keith McFarland draws upon an extensive empirical study to reveal exactly how everyday companies become extraordinary, showing that breakthrough success is associated with a clearly identifiable set of strategies and skills that anyone in any business can emulate–from small startup to industry leader.

With powerful and specific action steps concluding each chapter–and invaluable advice on virtually every page from business leaders who’ve taken their companies to extraordinary levels of growth and profitability–The Breakthrough Company is stuffed with real-world tools and myth-busting insights that can be used by anyone wanting his or her business to join this exclusive circle.

“Think Good to Great for those still small enough to think big.”
—Bob Eckert, chairman and CEO, Mattel, Inc.

“If you’re looking for a breakthrough, break open this book.”
—Harvey Mackay, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

Featuring a bonus excerpt from Keith McFarland’s new book, Bounce

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Keith McFarland is about to be added to the list of the top business thinkers--Tom Peters, Jim Collins, Ken Blanchard and Stephen Covey.  If you buy only one business book in 2008, this one should be it." 
—Harvey Mackay, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

"Greatly needed! Features marvelous analysis of the principles that enable entrepreneurial enterprises to survive and thrive. It will inspire those in charge to become true leaders by rejecting 'small' goals rooted in ego and embracing visionary values that impart moral authority up and down the organizational ladder. I urge you to read this book: it's impressively researched, beautifully illustrated, and clearly written."
—Stephen R. Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

“McFarland successfully tackles the ever-present question for ambitious entrepreneurs: just how do you go from small to big–and prosper?  This book has the makings of a classic.”
—Steve Forbes, President & CEO, Editor-in-Chief, Forbes

“THE BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY is a book that refreshingly and persuasively backs up -- with a wealth of hard evidence -- its contrarian claims regarding how to elevate a growing business to undreamt of levels…Think GOOD TO GREAT for those still small enough to think big.”
—Bob Eckert, Chairman & CEO, Mattel, Inc

"Disdainful of  too-easily-accepted 'common wisdom,' zealous at getting to the real facts of what makes some companies stall out and others thrive, Keith McFarland's THE BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY offers a goldmine of insight to anyone who's ever dreamed that the business they lead can become a 'player.'"
—The Honorable Jack Kemp, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Former Vice-Presidential Candidate, Former US Congressman.

"A seriously great book…Drawing from an unusually detailed and careful study of both excellent and average performers, McFarland offers a set of powerful insights into building a breakthrough organization. Managers and employees alike will find his conclusions at once provocative and useful, since they focus on the ways that ordinary people combine to do extraordinary things.”
—William Barnett, Thomas M. Siebel Professor in Business, Leadership, Strategy & Organizations, Graduate Business School, Stanford University

“The Breakthrough Company rocks!  Start this book and you’ll find yourself looking forward to evenings, weekends and plane flights so you can read more!  More than even the iconic books in this category, this look at the key issues for growing companies provides a deep dive in terms of substance and real-world examples.  The margins of my own copy are quite literally covered with notes on ideas inspired by what McFarland has to say.”
—Brad Duea, President, Napster

This book is unique.  Every paragraph has tucked within it one jewel of insight—- and sometimes more. Fair warning to anyone who immerses himself in this analysis: you’ll find yourself underlining every page!”
—Bob Galvin, formerly, CEO Motorola

“THE BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY is in-your-gut persuasive. The best books, like this one, change your mind about something important–and with each rereading prove freshly inspirational.  McFarland's insightful drill-down doesn't just answer the questions that keep growth-company leaders up at night, it’s an invaluable compass pointing the way to best-in-class performance."
—Bob Geiman, Partner, Polaris Venture Partners

“In THE BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY Keith McFarland gives us the clever metaphor of the Business Bermuda Triangle. The book provides insightful observations and advice that will help guide a business leader through pivotal times of a company’s growth. McFarland’s focus on the realities of managing costs, listening to customers and responding with agility to external factors makes this book a compelling “how to” on thriving in today's business world.” 
—Shantanu Narayen, President and COO, Adobe Systems

“I loved THE BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY…it’s a cornerstone business book and a must read for any senior executive.  McFarland, backed by considerable research, describes the characteristics that allow a small to medium size company to grow into a breathrough company --one that’s significant, lasting and influences the market.”
—Caroline Little, CEO & Publisher, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI)

“Most business books really should really be articles–THE BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY is different.  As a CEO of a company approaching a billion in revenues, I can tell you that his book passes the ‘Monday Morning Test’–you’ll finish it with a list of things you’ll do differently on Monday morning.  I only wish Keith had published the book years ago!
—Scott Olivet, CEO, Oakley Inc.

"In an increasingly entrepreneurial economy, fast-growing, innovative firms will be absolutely central to future economic success. With keen insight and extensive analysis, McFarland helps to fill a gap in our
—Carl J. Schramm, President and CEO, Kauffman Foundation, and author of The International Imperative

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307352194
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 434,578
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

At the age of twenty-six, Keith R. McFarland was named associate dean of one of the nation’s leading business schools. He went on to serve as CEO of two top technology firms prior to establishing McFarland Strategy Partners, where he has ad­vised hundreds of growth companies as well as industry leaders such as Microsoft, Motorola, ­and Morgan Stanley. Currently, McFarland is a columnist for BusinessWeek. He and and his family live just downhill from the ski lifts at Snowbird, Utah. Vistit his website at breakthroughcompany.com.
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1

2 Throwing the Dyno 9

3 Crowning the Company 27

4 Upping the Ante 55

5 Building Company Character 93

6 Navigating the Business Bermuda Triangle 121

7 Erecting Scaffolding 145

8 Enlisting Insultants 167

9 Graduating from Tough Times U 187

10 Building Breakthrough Capabilities 201

Afterword: Post-Breakthrough - Avoiding Breakdown 225

Research Note A 229

Research Note B 235

Research Note C 247

Endnotes 249

Index 262

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 24, 2010

    Must Read for Entrepreneurs

    The Breakthrough Company is a must read for anyone who is an owner or senior manager of a small to medium size company. Anyone with business experience will understand the examples and how they apply to both themselves and their company. You will be tempted to use the book as a "cook book", but I strongly recommend you read the entire book. Over and over again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2008

    A reviewer

    The author has the beginnings of good ideas but misstated facts about subject and comparison companies makes you wonder if he is bending the facts to support partially substantiated theories. Lack of complete disclosure of sources further erodes credibility.

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    Posted February 13, 2010

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