People & Strategy Spring 2017 Vol. 40 Issue 2 - 71
Each one of the six items receives its own treatment
in a chapter illustrated with instructive case studies and
supported with the analysis of lessons to be learned. The
list of companies and real business situations is impressive.
Take the story of Krispy Kreme where "company's potential
is swallowed by unchecked growth." Contrasted with Krispy
Kreme is the story of Dell, the computer manufacturer
that excelled at supply chain innovation but was not able to
transfer the competency to other areas of its business.
Of the three rules for intelligent restraint, of particular import is the argument Eyring makes for the need to
prioritize focus over vision. After so many years of promoting strategic vision as the hallmark of business leadership,
we have witnessed an overwhelming case load of company
failures, despite their lofty aspirations and well-articulated missions-Kodak, Motorola, Nortel to name just a few.
What went wrong? What have management gurus missed?
Growth leaders, Eyring insists, "spend far more of their
time and energy creating focus and aligning the resources
to deliver growth." Visionary leaders, who may be lacking focus, "always seem to do more when they may have
achieved more by doing less."
The story of Airbnb's decision to "grow by design" is one
such illustration of a winning growth strategy through focus. The company's accelerated expansion was dizzying. At
times it even felt like things were spinning out of control.
The founders pressed the pause button and decided to take
a deep reflective breath. By thinking about the future, they
had to figure out how they needed to be structured and
who they need to partner with first. The absolute nonnegotiable for them was Airbnb's unique culture and employee
Company leaders agreed to redesign the organization
with that cultural lens in mind. Operationally, it meant that
they slowed down recruitment, rationalized the headcount,
and optimized each role for the future they designed to
create. Airbnb's case is compelling in its simplicity and
effectiveness. For Eyring's purposes, it is an excellent example of how intelligent design actually works.
In addition to illustrative cases, each chapter is generously enhanced with tips on every aspect of intelligent restraint. If you are on the go with no time to get through the
After so many years of promoting
strategic vision as the hallmark
of business leadership, we have
witnessed an overwhelming case
load of company failures, despite
their lofty aspirations and wellarticulated missions.
chapter page by page, not to worry. The tips section could
easily be pulled out and every chapter is rich in advice,
helpful reminders, and personal insights.
At the end of each chapter, there is a helpful self-assessment section that asks the readers a few topic-related
questions and helps them reflect on their own development
with full awareness of intelligent restraint.
This practical and timely guide to growth concludes
with Eyring's eight personal favorite insights. They start
with, "Always train for the right race" and finish with "never
be[ing] intimidated by anyone who looks stronger and faster than you are." In between, there is a blend of personal
wisdom and researched-supported tenets of success.
The Appendix, "Pacer for Self-renewal," adds another set
of practical recommendations for readers to decide what
is most important to them on their road to personal and
This instructive book's hard-earned wisdom serves
equally well those who are just starting and those who have
earned their stripes in the trenches of business. Easy to
read and helpful, the book is a busy professional's manual
for everyday self-management and professional growth.
VOLUME 40 | ISSUE 2 | SPRING 2017