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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad science, no practical value, December 28, 2011
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This review is from: Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies (Kindle Edition)
Roman Generals used to consult the pecking patterns of chickens to decide whether to go into battle or not. According to Stengel's method this was the reason for the success of the Roman Army in its day.

Four second-year MBA students looked only at 50 top performing firms to see if they had, in their opinion, strong ideals (as their instructors believed). Unsurprisingly they 'discovered' what their instructors told them would exist (page 34).

Marketing consultant Jim Stengel seems a nice guy, he wants us to be passionate about our business and to feel that there is a greater purpose than simply making money. Few would disagree. But he also claims to have discovered the secret to sustained super profits - based on a flawed study dressed up as science. The`Stengel Study' makes the same mistakes as earlier pop management books that claimed to uncover the secret of sustained financial success. Professor Philip Rosenzweig's "The Halo Effect: ... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers" exposes these mistakes.

To detect factors that might cause financial success Stengel should at least compared carefully matched samples of both successful and unsuccessful firms, and developed hard objective measures of strategy - not relied almost entirely on interviews with experts. Also, to avoid confirmation bias, the researchers who described the firms and their strategies should not have been aware of which were the successful and unsuccessful ones. And finally, any resulting theories should be tested against the future performance of the firms. Otherwise what looks like science turns out to be simply a story.

This book doesn't predict which company will do well, and already a number of Stengel's outstanding 'ideal-driven' companies have floundered.

The success of brands (and the large corporations behind them) is far more complex than Stengel's book and its predecessors claim.
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Location: Adelaide, Australia

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