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Accelerating Performance by Sharon Toye, Colin Price

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CHAPTER 10Finding the Right Recipe

Bluefin tuna, Kobe beef, Alba white truffles, Coffin Bay king oysters, kopi luwak coffee, bird’s nest, and saffron are among the world’s most expensive and prized ingredients—but you wouldn’t put them all in the same dish. In the same way, as you sort through all the actions we’ve shown that can lead to acceleration and that you should consider, you shouldn’t attempt all of them at once. Instead, you need to come up with a sort of recipe that will let you blend the right ingredients in the right proportions so that you wind up with something that could be served at an Alain Ducasse restaurant and not a tuna/beef/truffle/oyster/coffee/bird’s nest/saffron stew.

In fact, our research did not find any company that attempted all of the actions that can turn drag into drive at the four levels (strategy, organizations, teams, and leaders). Instead, we found that accelerating companies successfully selected a subset of actions based on aspirations and an understanding of the company’s competitive advantage and culture. We found very strong evidence of what academics call “complementarity.” That is, virtually all of the actions we recommend are much more powerful when combined with others from the same winning recipe. The inverse is also true. Actions that are implemented without a coherence to their selection lose their power markedly.

Our work has some parallels with Professor Michael Porter’s work on strategy, where he insists that companies have ...

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