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When Growth Stalls: How It Happens, Why You're Stuck, and What to Do About It Hardcover – March 3, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (March 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470395702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470395707
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #683,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

FRANCE INTER (national radio in France):

"A masterpiece"
Reviewed by Arnaud Viviant

Livres Hebdo:

"Brillant, original and particularly pertinent at a time when the stock market is in panic.

From the Inside Flap

When Growth Stalls

One of the biggest challenges any business leader faces is generating consistent, profitable growth. But stalled growth is the rule, not the exception, even for the best-managed companies. That's especially true in today's tumultuous economic environment.

When Growth Stalls is a practical, hands-on guide for executives, managers, and entrepreneurs who are struggling with stalled growth as well as for those who hope to prevent it. In this book, marketing expert Steve McKee presents fascinating evidence that demonstrates that sluggish growth is usually produced not by mismanagement or strategic blundering, but by natural market forces and destructive internal dynamics that are widespread—and often unrecognized.

All companies struggle with external forces such as economic upheavals, changing industry dynamics, and increased competition. When Growth Stalls explores how these forces conspire to take companies down. But the book also looks beyond these natural market forces and explains how four subtle and highly destructive internal factors conspire to keep companies down: a lack of consensus among the management team, a loss of nerve, a loss of focus, and marketing inconsistency. Conquering these, McKee's research shows, is the real key to overcoming stalled growth.

When Growth Stalls demonstrates that no matter what's going on outside an enterprise, it's what's inside that counts. Public or private, for-profit or not-for-profit, consumer-focused or business-to-business—organizations of every size and shape are subject to the same challenges. Throughout this groundbreaking book, McKee explains how to turn things around, offering proven and practical advice for rekindling growth.


More About the Author

Steve McKee is the president and co-founder of McKee Wallwork & Company (MWC), an integrated marketing firm that specializes in revitalizing stalled, stuck and stale brands. MWC is an Inc. 500 company, has twice been awarded the American Marketing Association's Effie Award (one of the industry's highest honors), and has been recognized by Advertising Age as one of ten top small agencies in the nation. Steve has nearly three decades' experience coaching troubled brands as they look to better position themselves for success.

Steve writes a monthly marketing advice column for BusinessWeek.com and has been published or quoted in The New York Times, USA Today, Advertising Age, Adweek, Investor's Business Daily and The Los Angeles Times, as well as in dozens of newspapers and magazines throughout the U.S. He has appeared on CNBC, ESPNII, CNNfn, Bloomberg TV and network television affiliates in dozens of cities across America.

Steve is a popular speaker and has shared his insights with a wide variety of organizations and associations including British Airways, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Cabela's, Pizza Hut, International Paper, Bloomberg, the IBM Alumni Association, the American Marketing Association, the Public Relations Society of America, Grant Thornton Executive Seminars,and the International Executive MBA Council, among others.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It's been a long time since I read a book that had this many "ah-ha" moments.
Mark E. Mathis
Steve McKee does an excellent job laying out the key external and internal factors that impact and influence corporate and business growth.
Eric Cosway
I found Steve's book both informative and thought provoking, and overall a solid read.
Greg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark E. Mathis on June 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Finally, a business book that's actually worth your money, but also your time. When Growth Stalls is one of those rare business books that's actually about your challenges and not the ego of the author. It's been a long time since I read a book that had this many "ah-ha" moments. For example, McKee talks about the big danger of losing your nerve, even when your company is well established and you're a proven CEO. What those of us who are much lower on the food chain need to understand is that even big business titans can (and often do) lose their nerve when faced with rapidly changing market tectonics. Too often they delay making innovations to keep pace with a mutating environment and become driven by fear. This is a nasty cycle that feeds on itself and will crush the best of us. Remember when Southwest Airlines changed its seating system? As a frequent flyer of Southwest I remember thinking, "Why are they doing this?" Then, after I had taken a few more flights I thought, "Southwest has its act together. This new system works much better." I didn't give it any more thought until McKee used this as an excellent example of how growing companies are the ones who are bold enough to keep pushing the innovation button even when things are still going well. If you wait for sales growth to stall before making strategic market adaptations, you're guaranteeing a future loss in revenue and rough sledding for your company.

The best part of McKee's book is his constant use of real-world examples that demonstrate the concept he's teaching. The second best part is that his concepts are not complicated. They're just easy to forget when you're in the midst of dealing with personnel issues, new technology, finicky clients and any one of another dozen problems that come up on a typical day.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By H. Shackleford on March 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I recently read when growth stalls...and found it to be very useful. I've shared excerpts with my senior management team to help them understand that NOW is the time to invest in marketing, not the time to cut it. It's a good mix of reinforcing stuff you should already know and providing valuable insights on stuff you didn't. I'd highly recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Drummond on April 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After four years of solid growth, we saw sales slow down back in August, 2007. To raise local awareness, we moved our store inside a major shopping mall. December was a blockbuster month, then sales fell off. We couldn't sell enough products to offset the extra expense of being in a mall, so we pulled out after 8 months. We cut expenses so we could survive, but I wasn't satisfied with just surviving. The growth phase is much more fun! By then, I was most anxious to read Steve McKee's book. He style is thoughtful, his information pertinent. It helped us focus on what really matters, and Steve deserves some of the credit for the strong comeback that Banjo.com is now enjoying.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mac D. Culver on April 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Steve McKee has certainly done his homework in a volume that is a true treasure to any manager or executive pondering the business climate in our current economic situation. Having read a large number of leadership books in the last several months, I found this work to be truly the best of the best. The illustrations and examples are extremely effective. No matter what enterprise one is engaged in, for profit or non-profit, this book is a must read for the leader who has limited time to do their own research. A real jewel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alsport on April 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
McKee's book draws on relevant experience and offers a straight forward approach to focus the business' energy back on the growth path. Very timely in this economy where even the strongest businesses are being tested as never before. His case examples add value. He's been there in the trenches and this quick read conveys sound advice. While written by a seasoned marketing professional, the book is about leadership. It's for business owners and organization leaders who have to fit all the pieces together.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Lewis on April 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Steve McKee's book is more than the latest effort on business advice; it's an asset in good times and bad. Full of revealing truths and concrete steps for addressing the core problems that plague companies, this is - simply put - a can't miss read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patrick O'hea on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read this book thinking that I knew everything there was to know about marketing, advertising and operations. But this book really makes you think not only about the how - but the why of a stalling organization. It cites great examples and data, but it goes a cut deeper into experiential instinct and wisdom that are difficult to illustrate. Mr. McKee has done a great job keeping this book simple and relvant. A definate must read- especially for small business owners that are lost in the tyranny of the urgent when their business stalls-
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Walter H. Bock on June 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There are two great American business start-up storylines. In one boy or girl meets idea, acquires funding and achieves rapid, huge and unbroken success. In the other the start-up times are hard, but after persevering, the business takes off on a long unbroken growth curve.

But it usually doesn't happen that way. As Matthew Olson and Derek van Bever pointed out in Stall Points, published last year, 87 percent of companies hit stall points, only 13 percent experience unbroken growth in revenue. The scary part of their findings was that almost 90 percent of the companies that stall never restart.

Stall Points is a great book, with a lot of depth and richness. But it's for the executive management of Fortune 100 companies. In other words, it's for the hired managers of very, very, very big companies.

That's probably not you. You can probably relate more to Steve McKee when he shows up in the first part of When Growth Stalls.

McKee tells us about going to "take a bow on behalf" of his company which had been named to the Inc. 500 list. He also tells us that he had this odd feeling that something was amiss, and things were starting to go bad, even when he was being lauded as CEO of a high growth company.

It turns out that his gut was right. His company was stalling, even though everything still looked good from the outside.

He describes the feeling. He describes what happened next. He describes how he and others at the company reacted to the stall and how they worked to turn the problem into good through research.

Been there. I've felt the early shivers of my own company stalling. I've watched clients who "knew" that something was wrong, even when the stats said, "No.
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