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What really works.

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  • Author(s): Nohria N;Nohria N; Joyce W; Roberson B
  • Source:
    Harvard business review [Harv Bus Rev] 2003 Jul; Vol. 81 (7), pp. 42-52, 116.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal Article
  • Language:
  • Additional Information
    • Source:
      Publisher: Harvard Business School Pub Country of Publication: United States NLM ID: 9875796 Publication Model: Print Cited Medium: Print ISSN: 0017-8012 (Print) Linking ISSN: 00178012 NLM ISO Abbreviation: Harv Bus Rev
    • Publication Information:
      Original Publication: Boston, MA : Harvard Business School Pub.,
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      When it comes to improving business performance, managers have no shortage of tools and techniques to choose from. But what really works? What's critical, and what's optional? Two business professors and a former McKinsey consultant set out to answer those questions. In a ground-breaking, five-year study that involved more than 50 academics and consultants, the authors analyzed 200 management techniques as they were employed by 160 companies over ten years. Their findings at a high level? Business basics really matter. In this article, the authors outline the management practices that are imperative for sustained superior financial performance--their "4+2 formula" for business success. They provide examples of companies that achieved varying degrees of success depending on whether they applied the formula, and they suggest ways that other companies can achieve excellence. The 160 companies in their study--called the Evergreen Project--were divided into 40 quads, each comprising four companies in a narrowly defined industry. Based on its performance between 1986 and 1996, each company in each quad was classified as either a winner (for instance, Dollar General), a loser (Kmart), a climber (Target), or a tumbler (the Limited). Without exception, the companies that outperformed their industry peers excelled in what the authors call the four primary management practices: strategy, execution, culture, and structure. And they supplemented their great skill in those areas with a mastery of any two of four secondary management practices: talent, leadership, innovation, and mergers and partnerships. A company that consistently follows this 4+2 formula has a better than 90% chance of sustaining superior performance, according to the authors.
    • Publication Date:
      Date Created: 20030716 Date Completed: 20030807 Latest Revision: 20041117
    • Publication Date:
    • Accession Number: