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Bain Book

The Breakthrough Imperative

The Breakthrough Imperative

How the Best Managers Get Outstanding Results

By Mark Gottfredson and Steve Schaubert

The Breakthrough Imperative

Every general manager today is expected by stakeholders to achieve new breakthroughs in performance—and fast. Those who don't make visible progress toward that goal within the first year or two will likely find themselves looking for another job.

But, despite the intensity of these pressures, a number of leaders turn in truly exceptional results. How do they meet and exceed the breakthrough imperative?

"A must-read for every current or aspiring manager."

Idris Jala, former Malaysian Minister

To answer this question, consultants and former managers Mark Gottfredson and Steve Schaubert interviewed more than 40 CEOs, conducted an intensive study of what successful managers do right and drew on their own combined 50-plus years of experience at Bain & Company. They came up with four straightforward principles—deceptively simple yet remarkably powerful—to ensure breakthrough results:

  1. Costs and prices always decline
  2. Competitive position determines options
  3. Customers and profit pools don't stand still
  4. Simplicity gets results

Mastering these four laws means mastering the basics of great management. Whether leaders are managing a small work group or a multinational corporation, a single division or an entire nonprofit, The Breakthrough Imperative helps them determine where they are, how far they can go and how to get there with stellar results.

About the Authors

About the Authors

Mark Gottfredson

Mark Gottfredson is a partner in Bain & Company's Dallas office, which he founded in 1990. Over the past 30 years, Mark has advised chief executives and top-level managers on full potential programs, revenue enhancement, cost reduction, complexity management and major change programs. He has written extensively for publications such as the Harvard Business Review and The Wall Street Journal.

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Steve Schaubert

Steve Schaubert was a director with Bain & Company. For 35 years, Steve worked with clients in various industries including steel, textiles, automotive, consumer products, distribution businesses, healthcare and financial services. Prior to joining Bain & Company, he held several senior general management positions in the healthcare industry.

What Others Are Saying

What Others Are Saying

The Breakthrough Imperative clearly outlines the fundamentals necessary to survive and thrive in today's fast-moving global economy. The 'four laws' are invaluable for managers who need to make the right strategic decisions to win.

Steve Pagliuca, Cochairman, Bain Capital

Straightforward and insightful, Mark Gottfredson and Steve Schaubert have successfully conveyed their decades of consulting experience in a way that is truly accessible. Study it and make it happen in your business!

Mike White, former CEO, DirecTV

Having spent many years in the trenches with 'best of class' business leaders, Steve Schaubert and Mark Gottfredson speak with authority in The Breakthrough Imperative, a unique book and architecture for how to win in business.

Fred Rowan, former Chairman and CEO, Carter's, Inc.

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