Blocking China's fast lane
November 2006
by Steve Ellis and Orit Gadiesh
Every global leader today has to learn how to keep pace with the Chinese, or risk being overtaken. This issue of Results Brief describes Bain's insights on the trends powering China's outsized growth - and what multinational firms can do to make sure they stay out in front.

For a fuller account of how Chinese companies are leaping ahead-and what global firms can do to keep pace with them-read "Outsmarting China's Start-Arounds," by Steve Ellis and Orit Gadiesh, published in Far Eastern Economic Review in July 2006.

Listen to a podcast on competing with China with Steve Ellis on this topic.

How to build a sales force that delivers
September 2006
by Dianne Ledingham, Mark Kovac and Heidi Locke Simon
Today's smart companies are turning selling into science. But they're not depending on the native talents and gut instincts of their best and brightest to do so. Nor are they hiring extra salespeople. By adding scientific systems to the sales process, top-performing organizations are responding more effectively to new market environments.

For more information on how your company can improve the effectiveness of its sales organization, read "The new science of sales force productivity," by Dianne Ledingham, Mark Kovac and Heidi Locke Simon, from the September 2006 issue of Harvard Business Review.

Listen to Dianne Ledingham discussion of the new science of sales force effectivenes in this audio slideshow.
Download to an interview with Dianne in this podcast on the topic.

Who has the "D"?
June 2006
by Paul Rogers and Marcia Blenko
Fast, effective decision making can lift an entire organization's performance. The key is to be clear about where the bottlenecks lie and who is responsible-and accountable-for breaking through them.

For more on how your organization can become more decisive, read "Who Has the D?" by Paul Rogers and Marcia Blenko, from the January 2006 issue of Harvard Business Review.

Listen to Paul Rogers share his thoughts on how your organization can become more decisive in this audio slideshow
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Localization: a quiet revolution in consumer markets
May 2006
by Darrell Rigby and Vijay Vishwanath
A quiet revolution is under way in consumer markets. Standardization-once the growth strategy of the goliaths- has become a dead end. Consumers are rebelling against cookie-cutter stores that sell the same goods to everyone. Now success for retailers and their suppliers hinges on their ability to cater to local differences.

For a fuller account of the benefits of localization and how to achieve them without losing economies of scale, read "Localization: The Revolution in Consumer Markets," by Darrell K. Rigby and Vijay Vishwanath, from the April 2006 issue of Harvard Business Review.

Cutting through complexity
March 2006
by Mark Gottfredson
It's a dilemma faced by even the most successful companies. Customers are crying out for innovation. Yet if you create too many offerings, costs spiral out of control; create too few and you miss profitable sales. Because traditional accounting systems do not capture the full costs of complexity, we have found that most companies tip the balance toward too much. Companies that find the right balance-their "innovation fulcrum"-can often dramatically improve their performance, with cost reductions of as much as 35%, along with up to 40% increases in sales.

To learn more about how to identify your innovation fulcrum, read "Innovation Versus Complexity: What Is Too Much of a Good Thing?" by Mark Gottfredson and Keith Aspinall in the November 2005 issue of Harvard Business Review.

Listen to Mark Gottfredson share his thoughts on complexity and how to find the right balance to optimize a company's revenues and costs in this audio slideshow.
Download the audio file / MP3 of the presentation.

Blowing the whistle on bad profits
February 2006
by Fred Reichheld and Rob Markey
A dangerous addiction threatens today's corporations. It's the addiction to bad profits-profits reaped at the expense of the customer-and it can seriously damage a firm's prospects for strong, lasting growth.

But companies can turn bad profits into good profits-which come from customers who love doing business with you. Good profits create an army of customers who promote your business. They generate growth that can be sustained over the long term. To get on the right path, companies should start by tracking a simple metric they can calculate by asking customers just one question. At the heart of a new way of getting actionable customer feedback, this one question is helping companies become more customer focused.

To learn more about the strong connection between NPS and growth, and how companies can harness NPS to set their strategic priorities and assess tactical moves, read "The Microeconomics of Customer Relationships," by Fred Reichheld, from the Winter 2006 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review. For more on how to put core customers in charge of your company's growth, read related Bain articles.

Listen to Fred Reichheld discuss The Ultimate Question, Driving True Profits and Good Growth, in this audio slideshow.
Download the audio file / MP3 of the presentation.