Why do some companies come and go while others endure? According to McKinsey & Company, Inc. consultants Mehrdad Baghai, Stephen Coley, and David White, the secret to a lasting enterprise is sustained growth. In The Alchemy of Growth, the authors offer a practical guide for jumpstarting expansion and keeping it going. "Growth is a noble pursuit. It creates new jobs for the community and wealth for shareholders. It can turn ordinary companies into stimulating environments where employees find a sense of purpose in their work," they write. "Growth's transformative power is akin to the alchemy of old."
The authors describe the approaches that have succeeded in helping their corporate clients around the world to step up the pace. For instance, companies must simultaneously focus on "three horizons" critical to growth. The first is the current bread-and-butter of the firm; the second, the fast-developing entrepreneurial ventures; and the third, the ideas that will germinate into tomorrow's profits. The best part of the book: the real-life examples of firms that have transformed themselves from laggards to supercharged growth companies. Take Disney, for example. After founder Walt Disney's death in 1966, the company stagnated, with its theme park and film business slipping. But after Michael Eisner took over in 1984, Disney boosted its average annual returns to 29 percent, on the strength of growth in such new avenues as Disney stores, ESPN, and resort development. The Alchemy of Growth is an instructive handbook for managers interested in spurring their companies to new heights. --Dan Ring