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Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change Hardcover – March 6, 2012

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Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change + Profit from the Core: A Return to Growth in Turbulent Times + Beyond the Core: Expand Your Market Without Abandoning Your Roots
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422143309
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422143308
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #683,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Zook and Allen call complexity the “silent killer” of modern business…” “The Bain duo correctly argue that successful companies can survive dramatic change by deciding which bits of their business models to preserve and which to dump.” — The Economist

“This exceptional book is a ‘must have’ resource.” — Forbes

“It has a rich repertoire of powerful examples, many clues for making our own organizations more “repeatable.” “…the book is pleasantly “simple” to peruse from cover to cover, exemplifying its “repeatable” model in its own way. It has been so far a wonderful experience reading the book.” — Journal of Product Innovation Management

Repeatability is made compelling by the copious survey and case data and by the authors’ engaging presentation of their work.” — Research-Technology Management

“This is not a recipe for doing nothing. Far from it. Indeed concentrating “great repeatable models” that stick to consistent sets of principles is potentially as tricky and as time-consuming as engaging in all sorts of new initiatives. The difference is it is likely to be more effective.” — Future of Business (

Repeatability provides business leaders with a blueprint for bringing consistency and clarity to their organizations and for putting them on track for profitable growth. But don't just take my word for it. American Express Chairman and CEO Ken Chenault says, ‘Repeatability is a terrific guide to adapting your business for success in uncertain times.’” — American Express OPEN Forum

Repeatability once again proves what a productive pleasure it is to spend some time with Chris Zook.” — 800 CEO READ

“a terrific strategy book” — Seeking Alpha

ADVANCE PRAISE for Repeatability:

Ken Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express—
Repeatability is a terrific guide to adapting your business for success in uncertain times.”

Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO and President, LEGO Group—
“Very few businesses move beyond surviving to actually thriving and winning in their segments. The secret is to focus on what truly makes them unique, and to frequently refine and adapt this to changing circumstances through a repeatable business model. This requires hard thinking on why your business exists, and strict discipline to stay focused. Chris Zook and James Allen show how this can be achieved through clear thinking and hard, enduring effort.”

Sandy Ogg, Operating Partner, Blackstone—
“Strategy is more than a plan, more than a vision. Strategy is about delivering something better to customers than your competitors every day, which means translating strategy into front line actions and behavior. It is about capabilities, it is about engagement. Repeatability is the missing link to turn strategy into action.”

A. M. Naik, Chairman and Managing Director, Larsen & Toubro Limited—
“Driving profitable growth year after year requires a synergy of various aspects—vision, strategy, execution, continuous learning—along with passion and commitment to organizational goals. Repeatability offers practicable ideas on how CEOs can develop and implement a business model to empower leaders across the organization to replicate a proven growth formula.”

Walter Kiechel III, author, The Lords of Strategy
“For most industrial capitalists, the secret to success is being able to churn out the same product over and over, with uniform quality and at a predictable price. Zook and Allen argue that the key to strategic success is a company’s ability to do approximately the same thing with its business model, replicating the essential voodoo it does so well, in new markets and with new products. It’s a killer argument, one no strategist can afford to brush off.”

Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry—
Repeatability brilliantly encapsulates how executives today must lead change. Consistency and clarity for customers and your culture creates ‘less complexity, more energy, and better connectedness.’ Zook and Allen have proven this simple, adaptable model is critical for ‘sustained value creation’ of your company and greater community today.”

Sir Christopher Gent, Chairman, GlaxoSmithKline; former CEO, Vodafone—
“One of the hardest jobs of a CEO is to navigate the fine line between keeping the organization focused on day-to-day execution and making sure the company is ready to change its strategy in response to industry changes. With their idea of repeatable models that can adapt over time, Chris Zook and James Allen are offering something important to CEOs navigating a turbulent world.”

About the Author

Chris Zook is a partner at Bain & Company and co-head of Bain’s Strategy practice, where his work focuses on helping companies find their next wave of profitable growth. He is the author of the best-selling business books, Profit from the Core, Beyond the Core, and Unstoppable. James Allen is a partner in Bain & Company’s London office and co-head of Bain’s Global Strategy Practice. He is co-author of Profit from the Core and is a frequent speaker at the World Economic Forum and other conferences.

More About the Author

Chris Zook is a Partner in Bain & Company's Amsterdam office and has been co-head of the Global Strategy Practice for the past 15 years. He specializes in helping companies find new sources of profitable growth.

He is the author of five books with Harvard Business Review Press in the past ten years including his new book "Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change," published in March 2012. Among his best-selling books are "Profit from the Core: a Return to Growth in Turbulent Times" (HBRP, January 2010), an updated edition of his 2001 book, "Profit from the Core: Growth Strategy in an Era of Turbulence," "Unstoppable: Finding Hidden Assets to Renew the Core and Fuel Profitable Growth" (HBRP, May 2007) and "Beyond the Core: Expand your Market without Abandoning your Roots" (HBRP, November 2004).

Chris has received accolades for his work on strategy such as:
- Times of London "Top 50 Business Thinkers,"
- FT Guide to Strategy "One of most interesting strategic thinkers working today,"
- Top 100 business books of all time award,
- FT and Economist "Books of the year" list

He's been a featured guest on renowned business broadcast outlets, including NPR, CNBC, and Bloomberg TV. He is also a frequent author in "Harvard Business Review," and other business publications.

Chris is a frequent speaker at a wide range of international and business forums including the World Economic Forum, the World Knowledge Forum, the Forbes' CEO Conference, the BusinessWeek CEO Conference, and the Economist Summit.

He received a B.A. in mathematics and economics from Williams College, an M.Phil. in economics from Exeter College, Oxford University, and earned master's and doctorate degrees from Harvard University.

He presently splits his time between homes in Amsterdam and Boston.

Customer Reviews

I am sure you will find many other similar 'aha moments' - enjoy the read!
Bill Marrin
I would strongly recommend the book to CEOs of large and small companies as well as those interested in learning more about business strategy.
The book is full of data and examples that bring credibility to their ideas.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John Gibbs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Only about 9 percent of global companies have been able to achieve more than a modest level of sustained and profitable growth over the course of the last decade, according to Chris Zook and James Allen in this book. Enduringly successful companies maintain a for a simplicity at their core by adhering to a consistent set of principles which the authors describe as "great repeatable models".

The research used by the authors provides the following significant findings:

* 80 percent of variation in financial returns among all businesses in the world is accounted for by their performance relative to other companies within their industry, as opposed to their choice of market.
* New growth initiatives--organic or by acquisition--have success rates of only about 20-25 percent, much lower than most executives realize.
* The odds of success (surviving and re-establishing a profitable trajectory) in redefinition are extremely low, less than one in ten.
A significant majority of the companies which were successful over the long term had "great repeatable models" , and the three most important design principles for such models were:
* A strong, well-differentiated core, involving unique assets and deep competencies
* Clear non-negotiables involving a common understanding of the company's core values and the key criteria used to make trade-offs in decision making
* Systems for closed-loop learning, for driving continuous improvement across the business

In my view this book makes a key contribution to the field of business strategy. The business environment has changed permanently over the past decade and it is now much more difficult to create sustained profitability. The three key design principles identified by the authors do seem to be very important for future success. I found the authors' reasoning compelling, and I highly recommend the book to anyone involved in devising organizational strategy.
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Format: Hardcover
As Chris Zook and James Allen indicate in the Introduction, they share an interest in why so few companies (i.e. less than 10%) "have been able to achieve more than a modest level of sustained and profitable growth over the course of the last decade." They cite three ways in which the nature of strategy is changing (see Pages 2-3) and then offer to explain how "the enduringly successful companies maintain a form of simplicity at their core. They have done so by creating what we call [begin italics] Great Repeatable Models [end italics] that adhere to a consistent set of principles." Actually, there are three: (1) a strong, well-defined core, (2) clear nonnegotiables, and (3) systems for closed-loop learning.

That is to say, Great Repeatable Models stay ahead because they compress the distance between management and the front line, enable better decisions to be made faster, and facilitate, indeed expedite continuous improvement. Although Zook and Allen carefully identify the "what" of building enduring businesses for a world of constant change, they devote most of their attention to explain HOW. This is consistent with the approach they take in Profit from the Core (Updated Edition, 2010). They thoroughly explain the three principles, devoting a separate chapter to each, then shift their attention - and their reader's - to an especially important consideration, entropy, and how business leaders must avoid or respond and then eliminate it with behaviors that will help their companies to sustain and adapt their repeatable models "to fight the natural forces of entropy that seek to stop them.
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44 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Arthurone on May 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading an enthusiastic review elsewhere I let down my guard and went on Amazon and ordered "Repeatability." I only have myself to blame for once agin not learning my lesson after buying so so many books that promise to deliver so much and produce nothing. What Mr. Zook and Mr. Allen have to say could could easily fit on a small napkin not that you need them to tell you if you are in business of you mange a company keep it simple and if successful repeat that 'model" over and over again.

What these to Bain & Company heavies do is follow a repeatable formula in writing this book which has served so many authors of business books fora very long time so very well. They take one catchy phrase and/or idea present it as a great revelation then go about filling 300 pages more or less with case studies of successful companies that PROVE how brilliant their thesis is and other failed companies that do not reflect the teachings of their book and so that is why they failed. Perfect circular logic.

In addition to fill all that space and have a publishable product they veer off here and there with mindless philosophical musings such as on pg. 77 of "readability" that begins " Have you ever watched a school of herring that change direction in the blink of an eye ....." Yes herring it turns out are brilliant business strategists and because of Mssrs. Zook & Allen I now know why fish are brain food.

Anyway why go on if this review is even published it will be lost among all those 4-5 star reviews that virtually every book listed on Amazon each seem to magically deserve (sic). These glowing reviews are to everyone's advantage certainly the author(s), and Amazon's and for the rest of us like myself valuable if we finally learn the lesson do not believe most of what you read.
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