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The Granularity of Growth

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The Granularity of Growth

How to Identify the Sources of Growth and Drive Enduring Company Performance


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

To get big, get granular: track the fine details with this methodical guidebook on helping large companies grow even larger.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


This is a useful, methodical book. Rather than offering general platitudes on growth and strategy, Patrick Viguerie, Sven Smit and Mehrdad Baghai offer data-driven ways to generate growth. However, neither the approach nor the book is easy. The approach requires leaders to undertake hard, detailed work with rigorous honesty as they examine their companies and markets more specifically (that’s where the granular detail comes in) than most will want to. The authors are firm on the necessity of maintaining this intense level of awareness as markets change around you. The book requires a bit of patience, as the authors sometimes get overly invested in tiered structures, pacing readers through different categories of growth directions and structures that become a bit too abstract and technical. That aside, anyone looking for specific ways to address growth will find this helpful. getAbstract recommends it to CEOs, strategists and students of business growth.


The Core Challenges of Growth

Growth is tough for any company, but due to sheer scale, it is even harder for a large, mature company to keep growing at anything like the rates it demonstrated in its early years. The longer a company is in business, the likelier it is to be in a mature field where innovation evaporates. If you lead a large company, how can you make it grow?

First, define growth broadly – it is any increase in profits, no matter how you acquire them. Second, focus on granularity, which means looking at your business in a more “fine-grained” fashion, so that your analyses contain more elements. This focus will reveal more “pockets of opportunity.” Most strategic thinking about growth, in either mature or young industries, is too broad to be useful. Mature industries have small areas that are growing and even young “growth” industries have stagnant areas.

Revenue growth is essential for corporate survival. In a study of U.S. companies over the course of two business cycles, 1984-1994 and 1994-2002, the companies with both revenue growth and high stockholder value generation (“growth giants”) were far more likely to survive than those with only one...

About the Authors

Patrick Viguerie and Sven Smit are directors at McKinsey & Company. Mehrdad Baghai is co-author of The Alchemy of Growth and managing director of Alchemy Growth Partners.

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