The Breakthrough Company: How Everyday Companies Become Extraordinary Performers

The Breakthrough Company: How Everyday Companies Become Extraordinary Performers

by Keith R. McFarland
     
 

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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 annual sales above $250 million. In The Breakthrough Company, Keith McFarland pinpoints how everyday companies become extraordinary, showing that luck is a negligible factor. Rather,…  See more details below

Overview

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 annual sales above $250 million. In The Breakthrough Company, Keith McFarland pinpoints how everyday companies become extraordinary, showing that luck is a negligible factor. Rather, breakthrough success turns out to be associated with a clearly identifiable set of strategies and skills that anyone in any business can emulate—from small startup to industry leader.

Encouraged by experts such as business legend Peter Drucker and Good to Great author Jim Collins to identify the drivers that enable a company to push past the entrepreneurial phase, McFarland spent five years building and analyzing the world’s largest growth-company performance database and interviewing more than 1,500 growth-company executives on four continents. His goal was simple: to identify the secrets of breakthrough.

The Breakthrough Company is the result. Winnowing a study pool of more than 7,000 companies down to nine that have made the transition to major-player status, McFarland highlights real-world tools and myth-busting insights that can be used by anyone wanting his or her business to join this exclusive circle. Among the book’s takeaways:

• Common wisdom holds that the founders and core entrepreneurial leaders of a company must step aside for the business to reach the next level. Not true—as long as founders “crown the company” instead of themselves.
• It’s not reckless to make ever-escalating bets on your company’s future, even going nose to nose with competitors many times your size. In fact, it turns out that the only safety comes in constantly upping the ante in exactly this way.
• A Business Bermuda Triangle does exist, gobbling up companies on the verge of breakthrough. Presented here are three ways to navigate this potentially deadly hazard successfully.
• However good you are—or think you are—you can’t do it alone. Learn how to surround your company with networks of outside resources, aka “scaffolding,” and how to enlist the aid of “insultants”—people who are willing to question a firm’s existing assumptions and ways of doing business.

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 one of the most provocative, inspiring, and instructive business books you’ll ever read.


From the Hardcover edition.

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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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307409829
Publisher:
The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/15/2008
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
391,819
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

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

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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. For more information about Keith and this book go to breakthroughcompany.com.


From the Hardcover edition.

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