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Scaling Up

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Scaling Up

How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don’t


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

This manual packs enormous punch by condensing the best business, leadership and talent-management advice.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Rarely does a book manage to confound and frustrate the reader with so much jargon and consultant-speak, yet prove so valuable. This compendium from author and coach Verne Harnish rates as the one in 100 business books you should read above the others. That’s not because of its originality or brilliance – quite the opposite; it’s because of the book’s utility and breadth. In 200-plus pages, Harnish and his coaching team condense the top contemporary business, leadership and talent-management thinking into a textbook-style clinic on how to build a business. He calls ideal, agile organizations “gazelles” – the name of his coaching firm, but you’ll forgive him for the branding as you work through his informative text, charts, worksheets and illustrations. getAbstract recommends this breakthrough, indispensable primer with a warning: You might not exactly enjoy this book, but you will learn from it. Reading and absorbing Harnish’s overview may take perseverance, but it packs an enormous punch.


“A Country with Gazelles Excels”

Most companies start and stay small. But a few small organizations, “mice,” take off, enjoy rapid growth and eventually break through the $1 million, $10 million and even $100 million barriers. Some go on to join the “elephants” – the world’s largest firms, representing just 1% of all companies. Between mice and elephants, you find the rare “gazelles” – the 2% to 3% of all firms that are responsible for nearly all of a nation’s new job creation and innovation. Ninety-six percent of US companies are small firms that earn less than $1 million in revenues. Gazelles must rely on solid processes to survive. Successful gazelles form and follow good habits to avoid the pitfalls that confront every rapidly growing company. They focus on four critical areas of business: “people, strategy, execution and cash.”

King Cash

For most growing companies, when cash flow slackens or stops nothing else matters. Excellent leaders and teams or brilliant strategy can’t save a firm with cash troubles. Only cash enables you to grow, but nothing consumes cash faster than growth. Collect receivables as quickly as possible, tighten up your accounting...

About the Author

Verne Harnish, also the author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, leads Gazelles, an international coaching firm, and writes for Fortune.

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