Lessons from Costco on Sustainable Growth


Few companies succeed in growing at a sustainable rate over time. The reason is that leaders give in to the temptation to grow in ways that overlook the customer or they grow more quickly than their organizational capabilities allow. But the leaders of a handful of companies, including Costco and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, never forget that businesses are complex systems whose elements are interconnected. That gives them the discipline to reject temptations to grow faster than their organizations can sustain.

Under pressure to grow, leaders often give in to two temptations that can hurt their business in the long term:




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