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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
33
Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change
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on February 23, 2012
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.
17 helpful votes
18 helpful votes
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on October 4, 2016
I've read this book over the course of a weekend and really one of the best management books I've ever read. Really simple core messages and directly useful and practical for our company. Recommend!
1 helpful vote
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on November 20, 2016
An amazing book. It arrived in record time and was pristine.
1 helpful vote
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on May 3, 2012
As a former consultant at a competing firm, I'm familiar with most of the literature on business strategy. I've always bought into the authors' previous books on growing from the core - in truth, so have my clients. I was curious to see how they would top that quintessential point of view, and if they felt compelled to stray in order to pursue some newer, hotter concept.

I have to say, Zook and Allen have come out with a really practical and insightful book that bridges from their fundamental beliefs around the power of the core, to the capabilities and routines required to win with their core repeatedly. The book is full of data and examples that bring credibility to their ideas. It just makes sense.

I've talked with a lot of executive teams that are consumed about new markets, new products, new trends, and how they should pursue them. What I don't hear as often, unfortunately, is if they have a consistent repeatable formula for growing. I've actually already recommended this book to two of my closest C-level contacts.
3 helpful votes
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on February 23, 2014
Great content - I guess based on the title i should not be surprised that it was quite dry and somewhat hard to read - if you are looking for ideas on systems and concepts on how to systematize your business this will help.
1 helpful vote
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on July 11, 2012
In full disclosure, I'm a big fan of Chris Zook. I've seen him speak and really enjoy his presentation style, sense of humor and the deep library of business examples he calls upon.

This is the 4th Zook/Allen book I've read and I have found valuable lessons in each. I especially like the "Zook/Allen strategy series" because they are quick reads, they follow a logical progression, and the findings are backed up by actual long-term financial results. The empirical examples are drawn from Bain's overall consulting practice and not limited to the few companies with which the authors have personally worked. So with each book, I feel I expand my understanding of strategy, add to my toolkit and learn about a few new interesting global companies, businesses I would not typically encounter in my current US-focused role.

So it is no surprise that I really liked this latest book on Repeatability. The words of advice about avoiding complexity and building repeatability really ring true to me not only in my work but also personally. There is no 1 size fits all approach to strategy, but in conjunction with the concepts in the authors' earlier works, the argument for repeatability is very compelling. You can download it to your Kindle and finish it on a long flight...and if it helps you make 1 better business or personal decision, it will more than pay for itself. Not many investments of time and money offer that kind of ROI!
1 helpful vote
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on April 27, 2012
Zook & Allen have carefully documented the seemingly simple concept of repeatability as a driver of long term sustainable growth. Intuitively, every executive knows that repeatability in delivering customer value is the fundamental building block of a lasting business. Every newly promoted executive should read this book with care, think long term about core concepts, and not fall into the fashionable trap of merge, purge and restructure. In a world of accelerating change, core long term beliefs that underpin repeatable success in customer service is the only sustainable strategy. In baseball terminology, think "small ball" or "singles" for every member of the team when serving customers.
3 helpful votes
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on May 19, 2012
This is a great read - it pulls the thread of repeatability together that runs through the prior strategy books written by Zook and Allen, and in turn elevates it to a new level. As you read it, it all seems so intuitive and obvious, and yet the reality is the majority of businesses consistently forget the basics and what made them successful in the first place. I particularly like the idea that many companies give up on themselves long before their consumers do and get distracted in the pursuit of the next new and unrelated thing. Strategy, operations and management should be simple - most business disasters and general poor performance almost always have an element of management driven complexity behind them.
1 helpful vote
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on June 16, 2012
Repeatability argues that companies succeed by building a repeatable business model, a process that allows them to replicate their success in new markets and in the face of changing business dynamics.

To explain their concepts, Zook and Allen share rich and memorable stories, from the Dabbawallas of Mumbai who deliver two hundred thousand boxed lunches everyday yet reach Six Sigma quality levels to military strategist John Boyd and his OODA (observe, orient, decide, and act) decision making loop based on insights as a fighter pilot in the Korean war.

I would strongly recommend the book to CEOs of large and small companies as well as those interested in learning more about business strategy.
1 helpful vote
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on July 6, 2013
As a value investor who always looks for ways that companies can improve themselves and extend and lengthen their competitive advantages this book is a very good read and shows you some of the traits and characteristics that you should look for. I would highly recommend Repeatability for investors, managers, and entrepreneurs.
1 helpful vote
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