The Breakthrough Company (by Ken McMillan)

Ken McMillan’s book “The Breakthrough Company” is based upon the same idea as Jim Collin’s famous book “from good to GREAT”, but where Jim focused his research on gigantic MultiB$ companies, Ken focused his own research on medium sized businesses, roughly from $10M to $100M (at least when they started, the top 9 companies that Ken followed alt the way during his research have now grown quite a bit…).

Ken isolated the following patterns for “Breakthrough Companies” : It’s all about balancing the right STRATEGY, PEOPLE and EXECUTION.

Let me give you in no particular order my main notes from this presentation – you’ll get your own points from these

People fail because of their STRENGTHS : they overuse them too much and they need to understand how their strengths can hurt them

Given the choice between great strategy and great execution, you should take execution any day…

Execution is the step where we learn what works and what doesn’t

Execution is about choosing the 20% that brings the 80% of the result and it is about what we learn from it

Execution is the discipline that makes your people do every day what really matters

You need to build a coaching culture in your organization in order to keep  executing flawlessly in times of constant change

You need to constantly BREAK the routines of your business or you are DEAD (what took you here won’t get you there..)

Strategic planning is dead : a 48 hour defined strategy that is 90% right is way better in today’s times than a 3 month defined strategy that is 100% right.

The most important team building tool that exists is a strategy that everyone understands, believes in and feels a part of

It’s the job of management to get people to perform to the right potential

It’s the job of management to get the right people on the bus (by the way you don’t fire people, you make them available for the industry…)

Strategy definition should be a democratic effort BOTTOM-UP, ( to the extreme that the top management should actually be as much “absent” from the exercise as possible), but execution should on the contrary be a dictatorship TOP-DOWN!!!

Human beings are “wired” to defer to authority therefore you need to hire “insultants” in organizations that are too CEO-centric in order to influence change faster from the top.

Who says a budget has to last one year? Change happens way faster than that. In order to change faster, organizations need to accept to re-allocate budget a lot faster during the year between the right business units who really need that budget change. The business unit managers will fight against it (Kingdom defense syndrome) unless they feel that they are really a part of the strategy of the company,  they understand it and they influence it…(Go back to points above…)

Feedback welcome 🙂


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About Philippe Le Baron

is the authority on sales force productivity and sales management effectiveness. He's a sought-after corporate trainer to small businesses and global corporations like ORACLE, NCR and EMC. He's an accomplished entrepreneur. Philippe's focus is to get your new reps as productive as possible as fast as possible. His clients benefit from his revolutionary online programs developed under the

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