Cover of The Physics of Business Growth by Edward D. Hess and Jeanne Liedtka
The Physics of Business Growth
Edward D. Hess and Jeanne Liedtka


144 pages.

Paperback ISBN: 9780804784771
Ebook ISBN: 9780804784887

Request Review/Desk/Examination Copy


Excerpts and More

Organic business growth is governed by its own natural laws—underlying truths that set the stage for growth and innovation, much in the way that Einstein's law of relativity accounts for the movement of objects in the space-time continuum. The most fundamental law is that uncertainty is the only certainty. Dominating forces are ambiguity and change; the processes at work involve exploration, invention, and experimentation. Unfortunately, these truths run counter to the principles of stability, predictability, and linearity that have long informed the design of our firms.

The Physics of Business Growth helps readers understand how to create growth in today's business environment, providing them a roadmap and a set of practical tools to navigate its challenges. The book lays out a three step formula that will prove invaluable to professionals who have the opportunity to influence growth now, as well as to tomorrow's growth leaders, guiding them in (1) creating the right employee and organizational mindsets to enable growth (2) building an internal corporate growth system, and (3) putting in place processes that result in identifying opportunities, launching growth experiments, and managing a growth portfolio.

About the authors

Edward D. Hess is a Professor of Business Administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence at the Darden Graduate School of Business.

Jeanne M. Liedtka is the United Technologies Corporation Professor of Business Administration at the Darden Graduate School of Business and former Chief Learning Officer at UTC.

"The Physics of Business Growth documents practices that work in driving organic growth. Hess and Liedtka place a distinctive emphasis on integrated thinking that involves both operational discipline, agile strategic thinking, and what they call 'catalyst' leadership. Particularly insightful is their emphasis on growth strategies requiring experimentation-prototyping and learning with your customers. The good news for managers is that this book avoids the trap of magical thinking, which glosses over the messiness and complexity involved in growing a business. Rather, they offer a robust toolkit that growth leaders can adapt to their own circumstances."

—J. M. Ryan, Senior Fellow, Wharton Executive Education and President and Founder, True North Advisory Group

"The Physics of Business Growth speaks honestly to the challenges that executives face. It does so by debunking myths we may know to be false, but have difficulty challenging because they are so widely held, despite their insidious consequences and manifest failures. By effectively drawing on first principles, rather than pedestrian techniques, this book provides real insight into how we can achieve the 'holy grail' of profitable growth. If you are one of my competitors, do not read this book."

—R. Lemuel Lasher, President and Chief Innovation Officer, Global Business Solutions Group

"Ed Hess and Jeanne Liedtka are leaders of an unheralded revolution in strategic thinking. Behind their plainspoken explanations and practical recommendations lies a systematic approach to driving growth that is elegant in its conception, powerful in its economics, and well-supported by experience. Every serious strategist should reflect on the implications of their ideas for breaking out of a sterile and mechanical approach to driving growth."

—Michael Balay, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Cargill, Incorporated

"In a time when business books are attempting to provide the 'magic pill' to driving growth, Hess and Liedtka give us something much more insightful, the laws that govern it. The Physics of Business Growth will challenge assumptions, upend beliefs, and, in the end, leave leaders better prepared to face tomorrow's uncertainty head on."

—Andre Martin, Chief Learning Officer, Mars, Incorporated

"Hess and Liedtka make the logical and compelling case for organic growth rooted in customer insights, not PowerPoint presentations. Their lessons for enabling sustainable organic growth are useful for senior leaders who are serious about value creation over the long haul."

—Larry Culp, President and CEO of Danaher Corporation

"The Physics of Business Growth captures the basic laws of growth companies and creates a new formula for success. It has turned the process of growth into a science."

—Richard A. D'Aveni, The Bakala Professor of Strategy, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth