Reckless Attempts at Growth

As you may have surmised from the previous chapter, tinkering with your strategy—especially when the tinkerer is tinkering at the top of the company—is not a good thing. As we’ve seen, what begins as tinkering can lead to a poorly considered strategic shift, which quickly can become a full-blown disaster. But midsized companies can still be vulnerable even when their new path for growth is well vetted. In the effort to scale, costs can balloon. And as they do, revenues can lag and cash, inevitably, runs dry. Slowly, the sense of hope and promise that informed the new strategy drains away and turns into dread.

That feeling of dread welled up in me at a 2013 Alliance of Chief Executives meeting when a CEO and member ...

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