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Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies Hardcover – 20 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group, Division of Random House Inc (20 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307720357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307720351
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,041,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“By combining a scientist's rigor with a storyteller's gifts, Jim Stengel has produced a brilliant, must-read book supremely suited to our times”--Arianna Huffington

“When you start reading Grow, you may well feel a little sceptical about the ideal and its bottom-line value. But you'll soon become intrigued - and then utterly convinced. Jim Stengel shares his beliefs and his experience with a generosity bordering on the reckless; and has the hard, clean numbers to bear his teachings out”--Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP

“Grow is a tool kit for turning the power of ideals... into competitive advantage and sustainable growth”--Robert A. McDonald, chairman, president, and CEO, Procter & Gamble

“A landmark book tailor-made for the times”--Tom Peters, co-author of In Search of Excellence

“A new, powerful model for business. ... A must-read ... for all business leaders”--Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

“This breakthrough book, filled with original ideas and engaging stories, will inspire you to rethink what truly matters to your company and career”--William C. Taylor, founding editor, Fast Company, bestselling author of Practically Radical --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

What makes a business grow beyond the competition? What powers it to the top and keeps it there? --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER on 15 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Jim Stengel begins the first chapter with two separate but related questions: "What makes a business grow beyond the competition? What powers an enterprise to the top and keep it there?" In response, he offers "a new framework" whose central principle is the importance of having a brand ideal. That is, a shared goal of improving people's lives. A brand ideal is s business' essential reason for being, the higher order it brings to the world."

If this seems a tad idealistic, if not naïve, consider the fact that recent research, including a ten-year growth study Stengel conducted of more than 50,000 [that's correct: 50,000] brands around the world, revealed the need for the framework that Stengel devised. So what? The data from his study indicates that companies with ideals of improving lives at the center of all they do outperform the market by a huge margin. For example, the return on an investment in the top 50 companies in his study would have been 400% more than an investment in the Standard & Poor's 500.

A key term in Stengel's book is what he calls the "Ideal Factor," one that keeps renewing and strengthening great businesses through good times and bad. Having a brand ideal "is the only sustainable way to recruit, unite, and inspire all the people a business touches, from empl9iyees to customers. It is the only thing that enduringly connects the core beliefs of the people inside a business with the fundamental human values of the people the business serves. Without that connection, without a brand ideal, no business can excel"...or survive.

Stengel focuses most of his attention in the book on explaining HOW to achieve a number of specific objectives. They include

o How to discover an ideal in one of five fields of fundamental human values (i.e.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Byron Sharp on 19 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
Marketing consultant Jim Stengel seems a nice guy, he wants us to be passionate about our business and to feel that there is a greater purpose than simply making money. Few would disagree. But he also claims to have discovered the secret to sustained super profits - based on a flawed study dressed up as science.

The `Stengel Study' makes the same mistakes as earlier pop management books that claimed to uncover the secret of sustained financial success. Professor Philip Rosenzweig's "The Halo Effect: How Managers Let Themselves Be Deceived" exposes these mistakes. I recommend Rosenzweig's book.

A team of four second-year MBA students looked only at 50 top performing firms to see if they had, in their opinion, strong ideals (as their instructors believed). Unsurprisingly they `discovered' what their instructors told them would exist (page 34).

To detect factors that might cause financial success Stengel should at least compared carefully matched samples of both successful and unsuccessful firms, and developed hard objective measures of strategy - not relied almost entirely on interviews with experts. Also, to avoid confirmation bias, the researchers who described the firms and their strategies should not have been aware of which were the successful and unsuccessful ones. And finally, any resulting theories should be tested against the future performance of the firms. Otherwise what looks like science turns out to be simply a story.

It doesn't predict which company will do well, and already a number of Stengel's outstanding `ideal-driven' companies have floundered.

The success of brands (and the large corporations behind them) is far more complex than Stengel's book and its predecessors claim.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GUY'S BOOKS on 20 May 2012
Format: Paperback
The concept of this book is not new: the secret of business success, is to listen and communicate with your customers, in order to offer their ideal product or service.
The devil is in the details, of course: easier said then done. Bins are filled of business plans and companies full of ideals, but who could not deliver.
There are several case histories in the book. Sometimes I found it hard to keep on reading them, because of the intensive use of managerial jargon, and because they were too long.
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By Mad Dog Ray on 23 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Simple.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Bad science, no practical value 28 Dec. 2011
By Byron Sharp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Roman Generals used to consult the pecking patterns of chickens to decide whether to go into battle or not. According to Stengel's method this was the reason for the success of the Roman Army in its day.

Four second-year MBA students looked only at 50 top performing firms to see if they had, in their opinion, strong ideals (as their instructors believed). Unsurprisingly they 'discovered' what their instructors told them would exist (page 34).

Marketing consultant Jim Stengel seems a nice guy, he wants us to be passionate about our business and to feel that there is a greater purpose than simply making money. Few would disagree. But he also claims to have discovered the secret to sustained super profits - based on a flawed study dressed up as science. The`Stengel Study' makes the same mistakes as earlier pop management books that claimed to uncover the secret of sustained financial success. Professor Philip Rosenzweig's "The Halo Effect: ... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers" exposes these mistakes.

To detect factors that might cause financial success Stengel should at least compared carefully matched samples of both successful and unsuccessful firms, and developed hard objective measures of strategy - not relied almost entirely on interviews with experts. Also, to avoid confirmation bias, the researchers who described the firms and their strategies should not have been aware of which were the successful and unsuccessful ones. And finally, any resulting theories should be tested against the future performance of the firms. Otherwise what looks like science turns out to be simply a story.

This book doesn't predict which company will do well, and already a number of Stengel's outstanding 'ideal-driven' companies have floundered.

The success of brands (and the large corporations behind them) is far more complex than Stengel's book and its predecessors claim.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Good Case Studies 18 Jan. 2012
By Jiang Xueqin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For readers of "Built to Last, " "Grow" offers nothing new. This book also argues that business success requires a leader's ability to articulate a vision, build the company and brand around that vision. What this book does offer are a lot of useful case studies as well as anecdotes that illuminate the main messages.

The main fault with this book is like any business book it tries to distill the formula for business success into a general formula that can be applied everywhere. A great business is great because of great people, and great people are rare -- and that's just an unfortunate fact of life.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
How and why "maximum growth and high ideals are not incompatible. They're inseparable" 15 Feb. 2012
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Jim Stengel begins the first chapter with two separate but related questions: "What makes a business grow beyond the competition? What powers an enterprise to the top and keep it there?" In response, he offers "a new framework" whose central principle is the importance of having a brand ideal. That is, a shared goal of improving people's lives. A brand ideal is s business' essential reason for being, the higher order it brings to the world."

If this seems a tad idealistic, if not naïve, consider the fact that recent research, including a ten-year growth study Stengel conducted of more than 50,000 [that's correct: 50,000] brands around the world, revealed the need for the framework that Stengel devised. So what? The data from his study indicates that companies with ideals of improving lives at the center of all they do outperform the market by a huge margin. For example, the return on an investment in the top 50 companies in his study would have been 400% more than an investment in the Standard & Poor's 500.

A key term in Stengel's book is what he calls the "Ideal Factor," one that keeps renewing and strengthening great businesses through good times and bad. Having a brand ideal "is the only sustainable way to recruit, unite, and inspire all the people a business touches, from empl9iyees to customers. It is the only thing that enduringly connects the core beliefs of the people inside a business with the fundamental human values of the people the business serves. Without that connection, without a brand ideal, no business can excel"...or survive.

Stengel focuses most of his attention in the book on explaining HOW to achieve a number of specific objectives. They include

o How to discover an ideal in one of five fields of fundamental human values (i.e. eliciting joy, enabling connection, inspiring exploration, evoking pride, and impacting society)
o How to build your company's culture around its ideal
o How to communicate that ideal effectively to engage employees, customers, and everyone else involved
o How to deliver a near-ideal customer experience
o How to evaluate your progress and your people against your ideal
o How to drive the performance of the highest growth businesses with brand ideals
o How to center the brand ideals of the highest growth businesses in one of the five fields of fundamental human values (e.g. eliciting joy)
o How to develop leaders and managers to be business artists whose primary medium is brand ideals
o How to position business artists to run the highest growth businesses

Other portions of the book that caught my eye include lessons to be learned from three mini-case studies (i.e. Pizza Hut, Jack Daniel's, and Crisco, Pages 111-113), "The Ten Culture Builders" (Pages 159-165), advice on how to begin process to become an ideals-based, ideals-driven, growth inspiring communicator (Pages 227-228), and four principles for measuring a grand ideal to drive sustained growth (Pages 257-273) For those who are curious, the Appendix consists of "The Stengel 50 and Their Brand Ideals."

Jim Stengel is convinced, and I agree, that "maximum growth and high ideals are not incompatible. They're inseparable." Those who question that are asked to consider the fact that most of the companies annually ranked among the most highly-regarded and best to work for are also annually ranked among those most profitable and having the largest cap value in their respective industries. That's no coincidence.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Purpose driven marketing is important and real 10 Jan. 2012
By Michael Docherty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished reading GROW and found it both inspirational and practical. Stengel does a good job of relating 'ideals' and 'purpose' to any business, not just cause related ventures. This topic of 'ideals driven' or 'purpose driven' brands and organizations is being talked about a lot recently, but I believe we're seeing just the beginning of a wave of businesses waking up to the importance of this trend. Only someone with the experience of being P&G's CMO can pull off these proclamations with credibility.

Jim provides a great balance of case studies from inspirational companies in his 'Stengel 50' in addition to very personal stories from his own challenging and rewarding career at P&G. The only criticism I have is that Stengel could have done more to emphasize the importance of social networks and tools in empowering consumers to connect with brands and create two-way conversations (he includes this, but IMHO it deserved more focus).

The move toward ideals or purpose driven organizations is gaining momentum in many fronts. You can see it among aging boomers... from angel investors backing socially-impactful start-ups, to second-careers in areas that matter to improving peoples' lives. I also see this with the emerging generation of young professionals who bring to the workplace a much stronger commitment (earlier in their career than I found out) to the importance of purpose and balance. Both of these cohorts are going to be important enablers of the 'ideals powered brands' that Jim is espousing.

I highly recommend this book to any business professional looking for inspiration, and especially to senior level marketers and general managers who need help in re-igniting their brands and organizations for long term success.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Makes Me Think 5 Jan. 2012
By R. Siegel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am in a professional services field and did not consider myself a "marketer"; having said that I now recognize that I market my services daily to my clients. I'm only halfway through the book, but so far I have found Grow to be thought-provoking and insightful. I hope to apply many of the ideas in Grow to my practice.
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