Build, Borrow, or Buy: Solving the Growth Dilemma

Build, Borrow, or Buy: Solving the Growth Dilemma

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by Laurence Capron, Will Mitchell
     
 

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How should you grow your organization?

It’s one of the most challenging questions an executive team faces—and the wrong answer can break your firm.

The problem is most firms’ growth strategies emphasize just one type of growth—some focus on organic growth, others on M&A. When these strategies falter, the common response is simply to

Overview

How should you grow your organization?

It’s one of the most challenging questions an executive team faces—and the wrong answer can break your firm.

The problem is most firms’ growth strategies emphasize just one type of growth—some focus on organic growth, others on M&A. When these strategies falter, the common response is simply to try harder—but firms falling into this “implementation trap” usually end up losing out to a competitor whose approach is more inclusive.

So where do you start? By asking the right questions, argue INSEAD’s Laurence Capron and coauthor Will Mitchell, of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Drawing on decades of research and teaching, Capron and Mitchell find that a firm’s aptitude for determining the best resource pathways for growth has a defining impact on its success. They’ve come up with a helpful framework, reflecting practices of a variety of successful global organizations, to determine which path is best for yours.

The resource pathways framework is built around three strategic questions:

• BUILD: Are your existing internal resources relevant for developing the new resources that you have targeted for growth?
• BORROW: Could you obtain the targeted resources via an effective relationship with a resource partner?
• BUY: Do you need broad and deep relationships with your resource provider?

Written for large multinationals and emerging firms alike, Build, Borrow, or Buy will help solve a perennial question and will guide you through change while priming your organization for optimal growth.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“… a timely book.” — strategy+business magazine

“What is so interesting about Build, Borrow or Buy is that while it identifies the problems facing a company approaching a growth phase it also offers strategic solutions based on a combination of approaches. The book says that essentially it is getting the mix right that has empowered companies of the calibre of Johnson & Johnson, Essilor, ResMed and Cisco more than anything else.” — Engineering & Technology Magazine, The Institution of Engineering and Technology

“The logic is impeccable and very informative, evidencing the key points with real examples and models.” — Supply Management (supplymanagement.com)

“This is not just another compilation of tips and tricks about how to manage the growth of your company. Its framework, the ‘resource pathways’, raises the exact questions you need to ask yourself when faced with strategic choices. The book contains the perfect balance between up-to-date examples and cogent analyses based on in-depth studies. It’s a must-read before committing your firm to major investments, alliances, or acquisitions.” — The Independent

“Much recent thinking on strategy emphasizes execution, but Capron and Mitchell’s research shows that companies can excel at execution and still fail, because they choose the wrong “resource pathway.” — CFO Magazine

“According to Capron and Mitchell, firms using a robust “build-borrow-buy framework” to gain new resources have a significantly greater five-year survival rate than those using only one of the approaches… The book is liberally laced with case studies of companies that have either got these strategies right or have got them wrong… The core message is that those who learn to select the right pathways to growth gain competitive advantage.” — Irish Times

“In Build, Borrow or Buy, Capron and Mitchell argue that company leaders spend too much time searching for targets to take over and not enough asking themselves whether they need to do a takeover deal at all. …Companies that want growth have two other options to consider alongside acquisitions: building the resources they need, or borrowing them from somewhere else. The most important aspect is taking the time to think through which approach is most appropriate… Think before you swoop.” —The Sunday Times

Build, Borrow, or Buy serves as an outstanding resource for senior leaders and anyone working or interested in organizational growth and development.” — Leader Lab

"… Build, Borrow, or Buy, by professors Laurence Capron, of INSEAD, and Will Mitchell, of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, is such a timely book..... Confident decisions about what strategy to adopt and what capabilities to develop are highly dependent on knowing how to obtain the required resources. For these reasons, reading Build, Borrow, or Buy could help you enhance your company’s strategy as well as its execution.” — strategy+business magazine

“This range of ideas is important because Capron and Mitchell make it clear that no single strategy will deliver specific outcomes and that the firms that survive and prosper create their own mix.” — The Australian

"The book offers a series of more tactical questions and tips to help you as you probe more deeply into the build-borrow-buy possibilities... the keen insights stir the mind and offer many rewards" — The Globe and Mail

"Excellent case studies back up the authors’ contention that sustainable growth comes when leaders make active choices across the full portfolio of growth options. A highly recommended read for all would-be strategists." — Economia Book Review

"Build, Borrow, or Buy serves as an outstanding resource for senior leaders and anyone working or interested in organizational growth and development..” — David Burkus, LDRLB

“There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all” is one of Peter Drucker’s better-known maxims. Or, as Will Mitchell paraphrases it to CFO, “You can royally mess yourself up if you try to do the wrong thing really well.” Either way, that nugget of wisdom lies at the core of an original new book on strategy and growth by Mitchell and Laurence Capron, Build, Borrow, or Buy. Much recent thinking on strategy emphasizes execution, but Capron and Mitchell’s research shows that companies can excel at execution and still fail, because they choose the wrong “resource pathway.” — CFO Magazine

“They’ve come up with a helpful framework that reflects the practices of a variety of successful global organizations, to determine which path is best for yours.” — The Hindu (India)

“… an excellent book… fascinating… I’d say this book is essential reading for anyone involved in the growth of their company, and in the end, that’s all of us.” — Business Traveller magazine

ADVANCE PRAISE for Build, Borrow, or Buy:

Bob McDonald, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, The Procter & Gamble Company —
“Capron and Mitchell accurately capture the dilemma that today’s business leaders face—how to deliver long-term sustainable growth. They lay out a compelling framework by which to judge how to best fill capability gaps and position companies for growth.”

Roger Martin, Dean, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto —
“Laurence Capron and Will Mitchell have written a valuable book on how to think through the question of securing the capabilities that a company needs in order to win. Full of helpful checklists and frameworks, Build, Borrow, or Buy brings what could be abstract concepts down to earth for practicing executives. I recommend this book for all those who strive to make their company more prosperous.”

Peter Johnson, Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Eli Lilly and Company —
“Much has been written about identifying ‘what’ core competencies firms need to create competitive advantage. Build, Borrow, or Buy addresses the critical problem of ‘how’ to obtain those competencies. A clear, practical guide to thinking about successfully obtaining, integrating, and managing resources over time.”

Patrick Cescau, former Group CEO, Unilever —
“This rigorous and well-researched analysis provides an invaluable guide for any executive looking to address that greatest of growth conundrums: knowing precisely how and when to deploy a firm’s resources and capabilities in pursuit of the biggest opportunities.”

Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Stanford W. Ascherman M.D. Professor, Stanford University; coauthor, Competing on the Edge: Strategy as Structured Chaos
“Capron and Mitchell will change how you think about business. They offer a crystal-clear framework, demystifying the thorny choices of when to acquire, ally, or ‘do-it-yourself,’ and they back it up with rich, global examples. A must-read for executives and business development professionals.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781422143711
Publisher:
Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date:
08/14/2012
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.45(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Laurence Capron is the Paul Desmarais Chaired Professor of Partnership and Active Ownership at INSEAD and director of the INSEAD executive education program on M&A and corporate strategy. Will Mitchell holds the Anthony S. Fell Chair in New Technologies and Commercialization at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, and is the J. Rex Fuqua Professor of International Management at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

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Build, Borrow, or Buy: Solving the Growth Dilemma 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Strategy_consultant More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent read. The two authors, Laurence Capron (from MIT and INSEAD) and Will Mitchell (from Duke and Toronto) are top scholars in their field. Instead of advocating any particular corporate strategy (acquisitions, internal development, alliances), this book shows that successful companies are able to select the right mode of growth, not just excel at a particular mode. This books offers a solid structure and I found the mix of examples (from different industries, around the world), to be really helpful. Recommended for MBAs interested in a corporate strategy career and for executives who are thinking about how to grow their business.