The Breakthrough Imperative
How the Best Managers Get Outstanding Results
Mark Gottfredson and Steve Schaubert
Every general manager today—all the way up to the CEO—is expected by his or her stakeholders to achieve new breakthroughs in performance—and fast. Those who don’t make visible progress toward that goal within the first year or two will likely find themselves looking for another job. It is precisely because of this growing breakthrough imperative that managers today, whether in corporations or nonprofits, need to get off to a fast start. They don’t have time for mistakes or for going back and redoing what they should have done right in the first place.
But, despite the intensity of these pressures, despite the high expectations and short time frames, a number of CEOs and general managers turn in truly exceptional results. How do they meet and exceed the breakthrough imperative? To answer this question, consultants and former managers Mark Gottfredson and Steve Schaubert interviewed more than forty CEOs from both industry and the nonprofit sector, conducted an intensive study of what successful managers do right—and what some do wrong—and drew on their own combined fifty-plus years of experience at Bain & Company, where their insights have consistently been found in the pages of the Harvard Business Review. Together they came up with the four straightforward principles—deceptively simple yet remarkably powerful—that everyone must follow to succeed at achieving breakthrough results:
— Costs & prices always decline
— Competitive position determines your options
— Customers and profit pools don’t stand still
— Simplicity gets results
The Breakthrough Imperative is the essential guide for team leaders in any setting. It is that rare business book that’s rigorous yet accessible, authoritative yet instantly compelling.
Praise for The Breakthrough Imperative
Required reading for anyone trying to transform a business—if there is a better road map that informs the leaders and the team on driving change, I haven’t seen it.
— Dick Bowles, partner, Texas Pacific Group.