AMACOM 2006 ISBN 0-8144-0866-4




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 "... a marvelous book...a reasoned, data-rich argument...strategies and tactics for keeping energy and excitement going and growing."

Tom Peters, posted on his August 8, 2006 blog


 "A powerful antidote to Wall Street's poisonous fixation with gigantism and growth."

"Tomasko is best at combining the insights of psychology with the lessons of corporate management and strategy. The book is chock full of good tips and sound advice for managers of any sized operation."

The Washington Post, February 19, 2006


 "Both drive and balance belong in any executive's skill set, and this book is a useful counterpoint to those who favor the steroids approach to businmess."

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, April 3, 2006


 "The quest for growth at any cost has led many a great organization down an unhealthy path."

"In outlining both the psychological and economic underpinnings of growth Bob Tomasko has given us an insightful and useful antidote to the downsides of overly simplistic 'how to' guides."

"A worthwhile read!"

Len Schlesinger - Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, Limited Brands


 "Tomasko's richly documented book punctures a well-entrenched myth: i.e. that growth is only a numbers' game."

"With compelling stories and an intriguing set of scientific evidence, he introduces a totally new paradigm, i.e. that sustainable growth comes mostly from learning how to spot and exploit untapped market opportunities."

"His new corporate heroes ­ the 'growers' ­ combine some of the well-known positive attributes of innovators and entrepreneurs, but they go further. Their character strength and organizational sagacity turns them into formidable corporate transformation agents. Upon reading Tomasko's book, one can't help looking around in our organizations to detect hitherto hidden 'growers' and free them loose to rejuvenate our businesses."

Jean-Philippe Deschamps - Professor of Management, IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Co-author of Product Juggernauts.



 "Bob Tomasko's premise that corporate "super-sizing" does not necessarily correlate with true growth is not only insightful, but also dispels much of the traditional dogma of the business world."

"Rather than theorize, he provides real-world examples using companies and people with whom we are all familiar and convincingly establishes his case. If you have ever pondered the best ways to grow a company - - what works and what doesn't - - you will truly enjoy Tomasko's book."

J.J. Finkelstein - President & CEO, RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.



"An important, wise and practical book ... free of glib jargon and business homilies."

"Cites lively, current examples showing how to uncover hidden opportunities, and offers original and unpretentious advice on how to master the concept of growth on your own terms." 

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld - Senior Associate Dean and Lester Crown Professor of Management Practice, Yale School of Management. Author of The Hero's Farewell.




Bigger Isn't Always Better argues that:

Growth isn't really about getting bigger

A bigger stock price isn't always a good thing

Most successful growth efforts do not start at the top of the company

Ideas that may make perfectly good sense when applied in small doses can become dangerous disasters when rolled out on a big scale

There is no such thing as a growth company; there are only companies that grow

Constraints, not freedom, drive creativity

Your emotional state matters when it comes to opportunity spotting

Careful listening trumps hitting-the-ground-running

Growth isn't only an optimist's sport - pessimists have a role to play, too


Success often begets failure

When people oppose new ideas, it's less because they think the idea is bad and more because it threatens their sense of self-worth

Olympic bronze medalists are often happier than winners of silver

Motivation doesn't drive action, it comes from it

Stock price is a flawed measure of a company's real worth

Maximizing shareholder value is not the only important objective of a business

Unwise business expansion is not usually a result of greed and avarice

Jack Welch's ideas offer a poor road map to finding real growth

Michael Milken, jailed for securities fraud, may turn out to be a management hero


Bigger Isn't Always Better debunks these common business myths:


Stock options make managers think like owners

Fear is the best way to motivate change

Hardball is the best way to compete

Cost cutting and downsizing can create a good platform for growth

Elephants can be taught to dance

A large and successful core business is the best foundation for future growth

Scale and synergies are critical for business success

Acquisitions are a fast and effective way to grow

Long term success comes from a string of short term victories

Blockbuster R&D budgets beget breakthrough products


Bigger Isn't Always Better

The New Mindset for Real Business Growth

Robert M. Tomasko



This book will change the way you think about growth.

You want your business to grow. But don't confuse growth with expansion. To be sure, increased size can be an important component (or fortuitous by-product) of business success, but companies that expand too much, too quickly, or too myopically may soon find themselves too big for their britches.

What, then, is real growth? Simply put, it's progress, and it is based on moving the business beyond the self-imposed limits that have come to define and constrain it. Good "growers" know that true success is fueled by imagination, not by a stream of mergers, stock price manipulations, or clever accounting. These individuals share seven characteristics that enable them to foster real, sustainable growth.

Bigger Isn't Always Better reveals these traits, why they are effective, and how to apply them in your organization. The book shows how successful companies and growers:

1. Know where to look
2. Know what they want
3. Tell the truth
4. Create tension to generate forward movement
5. Win hearts and minds
6. Master momentum and bounce
7. Know when to let go, and share the wealth

Distilling a decade of research and personal interviews on three continents, author Bob Tomasko illustrates the seven traits with examples from companies-large and small, well known and less so-that have profited through innovative strategies that focus on genuine growth opportunities instead of the appearance of growth. Profiles include:

Darcy Winslow, who helped testorterone-fueled Nike grow by creating a range
of products for women that opened a new and profitable market

Pepsi veteran Ron Enrico, who created "The Pepsi Challenge" and
established Pepsi as the "Coke" of snack foods

Bill Greenwood of Burlington Northern, which found a way to turn
truckers, the railroad's most difficult competitors, into its best

Al Bru, who got health-conscious consumers to embrace Frito-Lay's snack
products by eliminating trans fats

Carlos Gutierrez who restored Kellogg to a growth path by eliminating its
fixation on volume

Bigger Isn't Always Better also offers stunning examples of the failure of the Big-Is-Good philosophy, including the ill-fated Hewlett-Packard/Compaq merger and its highest-profile casualty, CEO Carly Fiorina.

After years of cutbacks, growth is in again. But instead of assuming that an inflated business can dominate a market through sheer size or manufactured numbers, the new model shows how engaged growers use positive psychology to drive robust and sustainable growth. Combining real-life stories, thorough scientific research, and insightful analysis, Bigger Isn't Always Better shows how your organization can move forward-without tripping over its own feet.

When it comes to business growth, bigger is not always better! The key to achieving real growth is to change the way we think about it: it's about your organization's reaching its greatest potential, not maximum size. Based on ten years of research and exclusive interviews by the author, Bigger Isn't Always Better identifies seven key habits of mind that lead to real growth, and shows, through powerful examples, how they have been applied successfully around the world.







Why mindset is as important as strategy and technique. Why growth initiatives often start in the middle, or on the periphery, of an organization ­ not at its top.


PART ONE: What Growth Is and Isn't


1. Is Bigger Better?
How defining growth as expansion can lead to bubble- and bully-companies. Why bigness as a goal isn't sustainable; how it often bites back. How "featuritis" and the "blockbuster syndrome" are dangerous to a business' health.

2. A Bigger Stock Price Is Not Always a Good Thing
Why "shareholder value" is a very flawed basis for managing a business, and overvalued stock is to managers what drugs are to an addict. How a bigger stock price provides false comfort, and is not always an indicator of a better company. What the dangers of managing a company's earnings instead of its business are. How stock options can dis-align the interests of executives from those of the shareholders; how options fuel the urge to merge, and why most mergers don't pay-off. What the faulty psychology behind bigness involves.

3. Growth Is About Moving Forward
Defining growth as forward movement and progress, not bigness. How growers move their organizations beyond the limits that previously defined them. How to challenge existing dominating ideas; how to replace them with new ones. What the difference is between growth and change. Why smartball always trumps hardball. How growth thrives on, and is guided by, constraints.

4. Are You A Fixer or a Grower?
Fixers react to existing circumstances; growers create new ones. Fixers see problems where growers uncover opportunities. Emotions, positive or negative, play a pivotal role in these two mindsets.



PART TWO: What Growers Do


5. Know Where To Look
How growers see opportunities others miss by turning off their brain's autopilot. How to keep memory from obscuring novelty. What the business case for a positive mood is. Spotting new opportunities requires a customer-centric, not a company-centric perspective.

6. Know What They Want
Growers use goals to change what is noticed and how facts are interpreted. Good goals move people from possibility to action. Goals need to be beacons, not blinders. Grower goals are very different from those used by fixers.

7. Tell The Truth
Why facing reality is such a challenge for many CEOs - and presidents of the United States. Why it is something that can't be ducked by growers who want to succeed. How the common ways we are wired to think distort reality, and what to do about this.

8. Create Tension to Generate Forward Movement
Using optimism and positive emotions to build enthusiasm for taking effective action. Letting the gap between where things are and where you want them to be create the tension and urgency needed to move things forward.

9. Win Hearts-and-Minds
Growth initiatives require active commitment, not passive compliance. Active listening must proceed hitting the ground running. How to help people lower their defensive biases. How to get the most from pessimists. Making it easier for people to rethink their fundamental assumptions. Getting needed resources by tapping into your organization's underground "gift" economy. Why word-of-mouth stories build support better than PowerPoint bullets.

10. Master Momentum and Bounce
Drive momentum with a series of small wins. Motivation comes from action; it doesn't precede it. How growers snap-back (not snap) when facing unexpected setbacks by stepping back and learning from their errors.

11. Know When To Let Go and How To Share The Wealth
Quitting while ahead is management's most underrated practice; growth opportunities usually change faster than growers do. Good growers do not let themselves become completely defined by their results; some of the best growers prime the pump for the next generation by teaching future growers just how it is done.

12. Epilogue
Growers start out with a clear idea of somewhere better that they want to end up. They know what they want with as much clarity as what they don't.