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Fighting the Gravity of Average Performance

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Fighting the Gravity of Average Performance

MIT Sloan Management Review,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

To beat the churn, businesses must change they way they compete.

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Over the past four decades, constant change in the business environment has effectuated new levels of churn in performance rankings: Businesses have to fight harder to reach the top, and once there, the old rules of competition no longer assure they’ll hold their place. In a brief but hard-hitting research-based article for MIT Sloan Management Review, Martin Reeves, Kevin Whitaker and Tom Deegan of Boston Consulting Group and the BCG Henderson Institute describe the increasing challenges – and necessity – of maintaining above-average performance.


Sustaining above-average performance is getting much harder for companies – and simultaneously more critical.

Average performance used to be enough: A business could depend on overall economic growth to keep it afloat. But as growth rates lose steam in many economies – a trend that will likely continue – companies can no longer count on a rising tide. Increasingly, leaders will have to raise their businesses above average just to survive. Exceptional performance is becoming table stakes. Yet simultaneously, market leadership is growing more difficult to sustain. Research shows that only 17% of companies outperforming the average hold on to ...

About the Authors

Martin Reeves is a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group and chairman of the BCG Henderson Institute. Kevin Whitaker is the head of strategic analytics at the BCG Henderson Institute, where Tom Deegan is a data scientist.

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