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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great insights, a must for corporate "victims" everywhere., April 24, 2004
This review is from: Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It--No Matter What (Hardcover)
Michael Treacy sets out to show that growth, double digit growth at that, is possible in every economic environment. This is of course a creative possibility, but is often not acknowledged or even sought after by many in corporate America who are content to do the easy risk-avoidance strategies which ensure their ultimate demise. I liked this quote early in the book to set the tone: "Why do many managers preside over no-growth organizations without confronting the reality that accepting the status quo is the business equivalent of committing suicide?"
The highlights of the book are the way the ideas are laid out and then described in action with examples across several industries. Some of the tactics include; Spread the risk, Take small bites, Balance your strategies, and Commit to superior value. One key according to Treacy is to accept that growth is a choice. He describes managers talking about growth difficulties as "a little like listening to an addict in denial. Don't they understand that growth is a choice - a choice that lies entirely within their power and no one else's?" (Page 17).
Treacy covers 5 disciplines; Improving customer base retention; Market share gain; Market positioning; Penetrating adjacent markets; New lines of business. While these are certainly solid examples of the ways to approach growth, the real depth in the book is around understanding consumer behavior. He points out the reality behind why most "customer retention" strategies don't work, and how to increase "switching costs" of your products and services. Making your products and services "sticky" is a key to growth working well, by retaining current customers while attracting new ones.
While the information and theories here are certainly not the final word on growth, this book should be required reading for all the corporate "victims" blaming their woes on things outside their control. It is clear that countless opportunities exist within every market niche and through every economic trend to facilitate growth. Many companies do in fact continue to grow, and they are usually ones who are committed to it. The companies that do not grow are usually gone in time. The section on Corning, caught in the euphoria of the late 90's telecom boom, was a great example of how even market leaders fail to get ahead of the indicators and lose as a result.
Overall, a great read, with some good insights. I would have liked to see a bit more focus on the inspirational factors that great leaders bring to align their employees to deliver when the employees themselves may not see the way. That is obviously a huge key to executing a strategy, and was not covered as in depth as it could have been here. Otherwise, a good look at how to achieve growth and will likely cause many light bulbs to go on while reading.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Low Inflation Makes Revenue Growth Harder to Accomplish, February 9, 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It--No Matter What (Hardcover)
During the times when inflation and GNP growth in the United States were higher, investors gradually expanded their expectations of what "growth" meant. During the great bull market of the 1960s, a company that grew revenues by 10 percent a year was considered a great growth firm. Soon, that target was being set north of 15 percent. Exciting breakthroughs in technology meant that many markets were actually growing faster than that, so those who were growing market share were expanding at enormous rates (remember Cisco in the 1990s?).
Since then, inflation has declined to almost nothing, GDP has been stagnant during the Bush administration (with a recent up tick), and the dollar has been plummeting (making overseas revenues worth much less). That's a tougher environment to grow in than even the 1960s. So Double-Digit Growth is talking about a difficult target for those who are not in the highest growth industries. In appreciation of that point, Michael Treacy (coauthor of The Discipline of Market Leaders) says that companies should measure their growth in terms of total gross profits. So if you are expanding your value-added enough, you may be able to have double-digit growth while having less than double-digit revenue growth. That said, he argues that ANY company can have double-digit growth. I assume that he means it is POSSIBLE. Based on the track record of the last three years, most would agree that it?s IMPROBABLE though if we look at time frames of five years or more.
As with The Discipline of Market Leaders, Mr. Treacy looks at a few successful companies that have met his targets in the past (Johnson Controls, Mohawk Industries, Paychex, Biomet, Oshkosh Truck and Dell) and extrapolates what they did into a few simple lessons. The strategic lessons are:
1) Spread your risk by pursuing many growth initiatives
2) Take on small growth challenges so you don't become overwhelmed by the size of the task
3) Use a variety of strategies involving organic growth and acquisitions, as appropriate to grow
4) Be committed to providing superior value
5) Develop your management to handle growth opportunities before tackling more opportunities
6) Make growth a central focus of your management processes (using Balanced Scorecard-like measures).
To implement these six strategic perspectives, he counsels that each company should focus on five management disciplines:
a) Reduce customer turnover
b) Take business from competitors
c) Emphasize those areas in your industry that are growing fastest
d) Invade adjacent markets where you can bring important advantages to bear
e) Invest in new lines of business
The heart of the book is devoted to these five disciplines. Each receives a chapter that talks about the difficulties involved and how to over come those difficulties. I thought that the book's advice was most practical and interesting when it talked about the disciplines.
If I look back to when I was first learning about strategy, I think that every article or book I read talked about the last four disciplines . . . but omitted the first. In fact, the best chapter in the book is on the first discipline, especially in debunking those who advocate that you can build loyalty in customers with any method other than making your value proposition be terrific.
Another excellent part of the book comes in the case history of First Data which used these disciplines to improve its situation. Presumably First Data was a consulting client of Mr. Treacy's.
I was pleased to see that Mr. Treacy noted that many of his champion growers frequently changed business models in positive ways (especially Paychex and Dell). Double-Digit Growth is rare book in noting and describing such management excellence. In doing so, the book's only weaknesses were that few examples of continuing business model innovation were included and not enough attention was paid to describing the key elements of this new and important management discipline. I hope in future books that Mr. Treacy will place more emphasis on the best practices in this area.
The book's perspective is that of the strategist and marketing executive, so those who come from other perspectives will probably gain the most from this book. Double-Digit Growth will give other executives a chance to understand what they should be focusing on as they meld their talents together with others in the organization.
If you are, however, a veteran strategist or marketing executive, you may get little benefit except from reading whichever company cases in the book (listed above) you have not read or heard about before.
As I finished the book, I wondered about how companies can make it more exciting to work on customer retention. Perhaps Raving Fans! has it right in that regard.
If you are not in a high growth market, though, I would still rate your chances of double-digit growth in revenues or gross profits to be slim . . . unless you become a master of continuing business model innovation.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally some good thinking after years of gloom n doom, October 14, 2003
By 
Mark P. McDonald (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It--No Matter What (Hardcover)
Double-digit growth looks at an issue that is finally regaining importance. After years of cutting costs and getting rightsized we are not talking about making companies grow. Hurrah. Treacy does a good job in pointing out how really few companies consistently grow and the practices that they use to create this truely virtuous cycle.
He provides five disciplines:
1) Keep the growth you already have
2) Take business away from your competitiors
3) Show up where the growth is going to happen
4) Invade adjacent markets
5) Invest in new lines of business
The disciplines and their explaination are make in lively action oriented prose with actionable advice. This is a powerful book written about a powerful subject. I have been dismayed by the quality if business book ideas over the past three years and now with this book and some others, ideas and interest in them seem to be getting off the ground.
Read this book, if nothing more than to check yourself and your company against these disciplines. Look at what you are doing and how you are positioning yourself for growth. I think that you will be surprised at what you uncover.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the mystery to growth revealed, October 6, 2003
By 
maryann (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It--No Matter What (Hardcover)
Mr. Treacy's book offers clear and consise information about how to grow a company. I was drawn to this book because I am so tired of listening to all of the negativity about the economy, corporate scandals and the recession. Treacy proves- through excellent exmaples-- that several companes, of all shapes and sizes were able to grow durin these challenging years. Ultimately this book touts wise management, a plan to grow and the need to grow. Every American company would be wise to make this book required reading among their managment teams.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The wait was well worth it - another Treacy stunner !, September 2, 2003
By 
Mark Fowler (Wellington New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It--No Matter What (Hardcover)
I looked forward with great excitement to Michael Treacy's follow-up to his and Fred Wiersema's seminal work "The Discipline of Market Leaders". And I was not disappointed.
If you and your company are struggling to see a way beyond the seemingly endless cycle of cost cutting, stagnant growth and unpredicted disruptive change, then "Double Digit Growth" is the book for you. Treacy offers an exciting new business strategy and thinking framework, backed by well researched and insightful case studies, for building a pathway back to sustainable double digit growth.
I could barely put the book down on it's first reading. Isn't it always that the great ideas and innovations seem so simple?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fail often, Fail fast, Fail Cheap, April 19, 2006
[...]

This is now one of my favourite books. (I tend to be a bit fickle and flip from book to book as to which ones are the best.) One thing that I love about the book is the number of examples it gives of companies that maintain double-digit growth for long periods of times. I am a huge growth addict (growth is a great way to drive efficiency into an organization painlessly). Growth is also fun and inspirational. I could rephrase one of the principles of the book with one of my favourite sayings, "Fail often, fail fast, and fail cheap." The gist of it is to experiment in different areas and search aggressively for areas where things can get traction. Look at the downside so don't risk too much. Do it fast and do it often.

The book talks about the toughest way to grow as taking market share from another competitor, growing within a static market is extremely expensive and in most cases very damaging to a company. That's why we constantly seek new markets or markets and change. I have always said, "Change is opportunity".

The book is a great read and I highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in business.

Jim Estill
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4.0 out of 5 stars Growth-focused Management, December 27, 2005
This review is from: Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It--No Matter What (Hardcover)
This straightforward book reduces the problem of corporate growth to five simple disciplines. Some of these disciplines will be familiar to readers of author Michael Treacy's bestseller `The Discipline of Market Leaders'. The author identifies sound principles, and he supports his case with numerous examples from the annals of corporate success and failure. Although the five disciplines are sometimes so obvious (try to get more customers) that a reader may well wonder if any businessperson could possibly be unaware of them, it is true that egregious corporate downfalls often result from a failure to recognize and respond to the obvious. If the book only pointed out the obvious to those in danger of ignoring it, we would find that entirely worthwhile and, for companies that wish to grow, it does a good bit more.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits the nail on the head, December 31, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It--No Matter What (Hardcover)
In this excellent book, Michael Treacy discusses a subject that had been forgotten by most companies---growth. It's all about growth. Creating revenues. Being creative and competitive.Too many companies are focused on being Mr. Cheapskate by cutting back and many of those companies have lostbusiness to companies that are growth focused.Every executive and every business person must read this book if you want your company to move forward or even stay around in this new, tougher enviroment.Also recommend Good To Great by Jim Collins.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Growth is the Oxygen of Business, December 6, 2012
This book has been in my bookshelf for far too long and it finally reached the top of my queue last week. I found Treacy's insights to be timeless and inspiring. One of my favorite statements in this book is "Growth is the oxygen of business, the key to business life or death. Growing enterprises thrive; shrinking companies vanish". He offers numerous examples that shed light on the vital importance of critical growth factors including value of client retention noting "when a customer leaves your company, it is like a tax on growth".

Treacy offers five disciplines for businesses to embrace to sustain double-digit growth including:

1st Discipline: Focus on retaining your existing customers.
2nd Discipline: Acquire market share from your competitors.
3rd Discipline: Anticipate and capitalize on new market opportunities.
4th Discipline: Penetrate synergistic adjacent market opportunities.
5th Discipline: Invest in non-synergistic business opportunities.

I personally embraced the first four and struggled with his last discipline as I subscribe to the intrinsic value of focus. He does offer several interesting examples of savvy business leaders who have made bold and successful moves into new markets.

I would recommend "Double-Digit Growth" for any business leader who has struggled during our recent and very challenging economic climate and is seeking inspiration to jump-start her company with creative new business objectives. Treacy challenges all business leaders in his conclusion that "sustainable, double-digit growth is a realistic and attainable business goal".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read, March 5, 2010
By 
M. Dana (Commerce Twp., MI USA) - See all my reviews
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Interesting but not earth shattering. One of those books that is easy to read, and sounds great, then you forget about a month later. Had to read it as an assignment for my job actually.
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