THE PHYSICS OF BUSINESS GROWTH: Mindsets, System and Processes

Edward D. Hess and Jeanne Liedtka

(Stanford University Press, 2012)

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The Physics of Business Growth puts forth a new research-based formula for business growth that rejects the common view that growth is driven primarily by strategy. It looks at both the individual leadership and the organizational perspective. Our research shows that most organizations by their inherent nature are anti-growth. They are designed to produce predictability, low variance, and standardization. Growth is not a predictable, low variance, or standardized process. People, processes, culture, measurements, and rewards as they exist today in most organizations inhibit the type of thinking and experimentation that is necessary for consistent organic growth. The physics of stability is different than the physics of growth.

Our research shows that organic growth is governed by its own natural laws. The most fundamental natural law of organic growth is that the only certainty is uncertainty. The dominating forces are ambiguity and change; the processes at work are exploration, invention, and experimentation. These elements taken together underlie a new formula for growth. Growth requires the right individual and organizational mindsets, the right internal enabling growth system, and the utilization of the right growth processes.

The Physics of Business Growth was written for the practicing manager and business leader. It is a how-to book explaining research findings in an applied manner and presents tools and processes to create minds prepared for growth; to create an internal aligned growth system; to identify growth opportunities; to launch growth experiments; and to create and manage a diversified growth portfolio.

This book attacks the natural proclivity of organizations to be anti-growth. Using research examples of growth leaders and growth companies, this book presents a roadmap for growth that can be used to help transform a business into a consistent growth company.

The Physics of Business Growth requires traditional management techniques to be revolutionized to enable growth and innovation to flourish.

The Physics of Business Growth presents next generation management principles to drive sustainable growth in environments characterized by high velocity uncertainty, globalization, and technological change.



Click here for Amazon Reviews

“Ed Hess and Jeanne Liedtka are leaders of an unheralded revolution in strategic thinking. Behind their plainspoken explanations and practical recommendations lies a systemic approach to driving growth that is elegant in its conception, powerful in its economics, and well-supported by experience. “ 

—Michael Balay
Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Head of Global Strategy, Cargill, Inc.

“If you are one of my competitors, do not read this book. The Physics of Business Growth speaks honestly to the real challenges executives face. (I)t provides real insight into how we can achieve the ‘Holy Grail’ of profitable growth.” 

—R. Lemuel Lasher
President, Global Business Solutions & Chief Innovation Officer, CSC Corporation

“The Physics of Business Growth captures the basic laws of growth companies, and creates a new formula for success. It has turned the process of growth into a science.” 

—Richard A. D’Aveni
The Bakala Professor of Strategy, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

“ In a time when business books are attempting to provide the ‘magic pill’ to driving growth, Hess & Liedtka give us something much more insightful, the laws that govern it. The Physics of Growth will challenge assumptions, upend beliefs, and, in the end, leave leaders better prepared to face tomorrow’s uncertainty head on.” 

—Andre Martin
Chief Learning Officer, Mars, Incorporated

“Hess and Liedtka make the logical and compelling case for organic growth rooted in customer insights , not PowerPoint presentations. Their lessons for enabling sustainable organic growth are useful for senior leaders serious about value creation over the long haul.”

—Larry Culp
President & Chief Executive Officer, Danaher Corporation