Scaling Up Excellence Book Summary - Scaling Up Excellence Book explained in key points
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Scaling Up Excellence summary

Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao

Getting to More Without Settling for Less

4.2 (53 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

Scaling Up Excellence by Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao is a practical guide on how to scale up success within organizations. It provides actionable strategies for leaders to embrace and spread excellence throughout their teams.

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    Scaling Up Excellence
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    You need it: scaling is essential to the success of organizations.

    Scaling is one of the major challenges that every leader or executive in a successful organization faces. Scaling refers to the practice of spreading the excellent performance that always exists somewhere in the organization to more people and more places.

    That’s why scaling is also called the “problem of more.”

    But creating more commendable behavior looks very different in each different organization. For instance, scaling can mean growing a technology start-up from twenty to forty employees, opening a new burger store in another country, or reducing treatment errors in hospitals.

    Moreover, scaling not only requires replicating best practices but improving performance along the way. In other words, the “problem of more” is also a “problem of better.”

    Scaling requires the drive to keep innovating, change organizational behaviors and structures, and find better strategies of delivering your product or service.

    Take the Bridgewater International Academies, a chain of elementary schools in developing countries. It scaled up from one school in 2009 to over 210 today. During its scaling process, the leadership team not only focused on growing the organization but also on improving their practices.

    For instance, they’re currently working on a new initiative that equips teachers with customized content to work better with students who have different abilities.

    Scaling is an important yet tricky organizational challenge. And while there’s no easy recipe for effective scaling, if we look at successful examples, we can glean some fundamental principles and strategies for success.

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    What is Scaling Up Excellence about?

    Scaling Up Excellence is the first major business publication that deals with how leaders can effectively spread exemplary practices in their organization. Readers can expect to learn about the latest research in the organizational behavior field, lots of instructive industry case studies, and many helpful practices, strategies and principles for scaling up.

    The authors help leaders and managers understand major scaling challenges and show how to identify excellent niches, spread them and cultivate the right mindset within their organizations. They also set out scaling principles that guide leaders in their daily decisions.

    Scaling Up Excellence Review

    Scaling Up Excellence (2014) is a must-read for anyone interested in organizational growth and scaling. Here's why this book is worth your time:

    • It provides practical strategies and tools that can be applied to any organization, helping leaders navigate the complexities of scaling.
    • Through numerous real-world case studies and examples, the book offers valuable insights into the challenges and solutions of scaling excellence.
    • With its engaging storytelling and actionable advice, the book ensures that readers stay engaged and find inspiration in achieving excellence at scale.

    Best quote from Scaling Up Excellence

    To spread excellence, you need to have some excellence to spread.

    —Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao
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    Who should read Scaling Up Excellence?

    • Leaders and managers seeking to improve the performance of their organization
    • Anyone who wants to know how to spread best practices in an organization
    • Anyone interested in cutting-edge organizational research

    About the Author

    Huggy Rao is a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University. He has published the book Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovation. Robert I. Sutton is a professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University. Among his books are Good Boss, Bad Boss and The No Asshole Rule (also available in blinks).

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    Scaling Up Excellence FAQs 

    What is the main message of Scaling Up Excellence?

    Scaling Up Excellence shows how to spread and sustain positive influences throughout an organization.

    How long does it take to read Scaling Up Excellence?

    The reading time for Scaling Up Excellence varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Scaling Up Excellence a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Scaling Up Excellence is worth reading because it provides valuable insights and practical strategies for scaling success in organizations.

    Who is the author of Scaling Up Excellence?

    The authors of Scaling Up Excellence are Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao.

    What to read after Scaling Up Excellence?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Scaling Up Excellence, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux
    • Scaling Up by Verne Harnish
    • The Power of Going All-In by Brandon Bornancin
    • Holacracy by Brian J. Robertson
    • Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
    • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni
    • Leadership Is Language by David Marquet
    • First, Break all the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
    • Do Scale by Les McKeown
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear