Scaling Up Excellence
Getting to More Without Settling for Less
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Other Editions of This Title: Compact Disc
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In Scaling Up Excellence, bestselling author Robert Sutton and Stanford colleague Huggy Rao tackle a challenge that determines every organization’s success: scaling up farther, faster, and more effectively as a program or an organization creates a larger footprint. Sutton and Rao have devoted much of the last decade to uncovering what it takes to build and uncover pockets of exemplary performance, to help spread them, and to keep recharging organizations with ever better work practices. Drawing on inside accounts and case studies and academic research from a wealth of industries – including start-ups, pharmaceuticals, airlines, retail, financial services, high-tech, education, non-profits, government, and healthcare -- Sutton and Rao identify the key scaling challenges that confront every organization. They tackle the difficult trade-offs that organizations must make between “Buddhism” versus “Catholicism” -- whether to encourage individualized approaches tailored to local needs or to replicate the same practices and customs as an organization or program expands. They reveal how the best leaders and teams develop, spread, and instill the right mindsets in their people -- rather than ruining or watering down the very things that have fueled successful growth in the past. They unpack the principles that help to cascade excellence throughout an organization, as well as show how to eliminate destructive beliefs and behaviors that will hold them back.
Scaling Up Excellence is the first major business book devoted to this universal and vexing challenge. It is destined to become the standard bearer in the field.
Robert I. Sutton is professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University, where he is co-founder of the Center for Work Technology and Organizations, Stanford Technology Ventures Program, and Institute of Design (“the d.school”). Sutton was named as one of 10 “B-School All-Stars” by BusinessWeek, which they described as “professors who are influencing contemporary business thinking far beyond academia.” His books include The Knowing-Doing Gap (with Jeffrey Pfeffer), Weird Ideas the Work, and two New York Times bestsellers, The No Asshole Rule and Good Boss, Bad Boss.
Huggy Rao is the Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior, Stanford University, where he studies the social and cultural causes of organizational change. His honors include the W. Richard Scott Distinguished Award for Scholarship from the American Sociological Association and Sidney Levy Teaching Award from the Kellogg School of Management. He is the author of Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovation,” Which Intel’s Andy Grove praised for providing “shrewd analysis” and an “aha moment.”
“With a huge amount of research and insight within its covers, this is a timely read for young ambitious companies.” -Trevor Clawson, Forbes
"A great read that provides real, practical advice whether you're a team of 5 or 50,000. Sutton and Rao find just the right stories to show how almost any team can get bigger and better." –Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of People Operations, Google
“Scaling Up Excellence is one of the finest business books you'll ever read. It is rich with vivid examples, deep research, and practical advice on the toughest challenge organizations confront: how to spread success from a few small pockets of an organization to its entire fabric. Whether you're an entrepreneur who wants to get big, a CEO who wants to avoid stagnation, or a non-profit executive who wants make a deeper difference, Scaling Up Excellence is an essential read -- a playbook that belongs on the desk of every leader.” -Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human
“Innovation at scale and speed is our goal. Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao show us how to do it more often and better, knowing that scale matters.” –Beth Comstock, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Office, GE
“The Internet creates new possibilities for scaling, but scaling rarely happens because of technology alone. This insightful book shares the methods and strategies that successful leaders rely on to spread the beliefs and behaviors that can accelerate an organization's growth while simultaneously improving its processes.” -Reid Hoffman, co-founder/chairman of LinkedIn and co-author of the #1 NYT bestseller The Start-up of You
“Growth and reinvention are key to winning, especially in tech. In Scaling Up Excellence, Sutton and Rao outline a real-world view of the challenges leaders face, and provide wisdom and practical tips about how to master them. I loved the insights.” -Shantanu Narayen, CEO, Adobe Systems
“Startups sow the seeds of their culture from the very first day. Yet their ultimate success depends on knowing when and how to scale. Drawing on first hand accounts from a wide range of industries, Scaling Up Excellence is the first book to offer a detailed examination of the best practices needed to successfully scale without diluting the very qualities that made a company successful in the first place. An important book for corporations and entrepreneurs alike.” -Eric Ries, bestselling author of The Lean Startup
"Maintaining excellence while growing is full of pitfalls and pain, and requires a great deal of thoughtfulness. Scaling Up Excellence gives us a well-crafted framework for thinking about and addressing the nitty-gritty problems on the ground without getting derailed by lofty goals. Sutton and Rao keep us focused on the personal actions required for tackling this leadership challenge.” -Ed Catmull, President of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation Studios
“One of the challenges faced by any complex organization is how to improve performance by sharing best practices within the organization. Too often, scaling is done as an art. To be done well, it needs to be a science. ‘Scaling Up Excellence’ elevates scaling to a core competency instead of a talent. This is a worthwhile book to read.” -George Halvorson, chairman of the board, Kaiser Permanente
“A must-read. Renowned experts Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao are the first to tackle a pervasive problem that every leader faces: spreading and multiplying success. This landmark book is full of rich examples, powerful studies, and actionable insights for anyone who cares about making groups or organizations more effective.” - Adam Grant, Wharton professor and bestselling author of Give and Take
“Sutton and Rao provide an illuminating perspective that is particularly useful for leaders and teams about to embark on their own challenging journey to scaling excellence. The stories and studies shared by the authors provide valuable strategic and practical advice, which will increase your odds of success when they are combined with the real “grit” required to make improvements.” -Ann L. Lee, senior vice president, Genentech and Global Head of pharma technical development, Roche
"We are all searching for new ways to build more effective teams, startups, and organizations that will stand the test of time. Through compelling research, stories, and narrative, Scaling Up Excellence will show you how to help your best ideas reach a much wider audience. If you want to have a big impact . . . make sure your entire team reads this book." –Tom Rath, bestselling author of Strengthsfinder 2.0
“An engaging exploration of a powerful and frequently neglected source of competitive advantage: Finding ways to spread and sustain the best ideas and practices we already know how to do. Packed with inspiring examples of how to make it happen –or miss out.” -Martin Riant, Group President Baby, Feminine and Family Care, Procter & Gamble Co.
“If you want your organization to expand and grow without losing what makes you special, this is the book for you. Sutton and Rao have written a must-read handbook for scaling.” -Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Decisive, Switch, and Made to Stick
“Scaling Up Excellence offers a strong antidote to the common pap--the delusions, impatience and incompetence-- that too often frustrate reforms and keep many good ideas from achieving their goals. Through engaging accounts of both organizational successes and colossal failures, Sutton and Rao offer practical wisdom for scaling improvements in complex institutions. Anyone involved in the work of improvement should hold this book close at hand.” -Anthony S. Bryk, president, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
“Rather than a one size fits all recipe for what to do in scaling up your company, Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao offer guidelines for action in easy to read terms, based on case studies and research conducted over the last seven years. If you are interested in excellence using the principle of Less is More, this is the book to read." -Riccardo Illy, Chairman, Grupo Illy, S.p.A
“Scaling Up Excellence is the best book I’ve ever seen on making an organization’s vision come true. Sutton and Rao have created a deeply practical guide that is also a great read, grounded equally in astonishing stories and rigorous research. No matter what you do for a living, read this book to figure out how to link your “short-term realities to long-term dreams.” - Teresa M. Amabile, professor, Harvard Business School and coauthor, The Progress Principle
“Taking a small, manageable organization and making it into a big, successful enterprise is a major challenge in healthcare or any other industry. Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao take the mystery out of ‘going large’ with memorable mantras and fascinating case studies. Scaling Up Excellence shows the high roads – and the pitfalls – on the way to bigger and better. Delos M. Cosgrove MD, CEO and President, Cleveland Clinic
“Inspiring stories, compelling research, and actionable ideas masterfully woven together and immediately usable by any entrepreneur or manager.” -Clara Shih, CEO and Founder of Hearsay Social, member of Starbucks Board of Directors
“Sustaining exceptional performance in growing organizations is critical in today’s world. Sutton and Rao bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to identifying best practices in a straightforward and accessible way. If you want to grow your business, you need this book.” – Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone
"Rao and Sutton have hit on an important challenge for leaders in every organization - companies, social sector and government: how do you scale what works, and do it faster. The challenge of finding pockets of excellence and changing mindsets and behavior so that success becomes the norm not abnormal is very real for those who want to make excellence stick. Scaling up Excellence is a useful roadmap for today's change leaders" -Lenny Mendonca, Director Emeritus, McKinsey and Company, Founder, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
“Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao’s book provides insights on the key principles of scaling for excellence. For entrepreneurs or business leaders at the forefront of organizational growth, “Scaling up excellence” is a treasure trove of case studies and industry showcases.” -N. R. Narayana Murthy, Executive Chairman, Infosys Limited
"Scaling Up Excellence is a masterpiece. I have been wrestling with the same conundrum for 30 years, and I simply marvel at the way Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao have disentangled this supremely important Gordian knot."-Tom Peters, bestselling author of In Search of Excellence