The Alchemy Of Growth

In 1998 the findings of McKinsey’s Growth Special Initiative were published in a ground-breaking book entitled The Alchemy of Growth. The book was the result of over two years of research on great (achieved superior profitable growth over 15+ consecutive years) growth companies, companies that had kick-started growth from a low- or no-growth starting point, new business launches, and also some growth aspirers who had attempted but failed to create a significant growth inflection. A comprehensive academic review, consulting competitor analysis, literature search, and most importantly, case studies including interviews with founders and CEOs and reviews of hundreds of McKinsey growth engagements were conducted before a new set of distinctive thinking, conceptual frameworks and practical approaches for making growth happen were developed. The following description is taken from the site:

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. – Source: editorial

From the book’s acknowledgements:

“…Rajan Anandan and Andrew Grant were our first thought partners and the leaders who guided our teams through the murkiest days of the research. Jeff Chan, Alison Deans, Brad Gambill, Henrike Garkisch Mobed, and Sarah Kaplan subsequently picked up team leadership roles and performed them just as ably. Jeff Chan has played several roles, coordinating our research and helping synthesize the findings. From leading case research efforts to responding to inquiries to running client workshops, Jeff has been a bulwark. His knowledge of the research is encyclopedic, and his contributions pervade the book.”

The Alchemy of Growth can be ordered from by clicking on the book image below:
The Alchemy Of Growth