Small Giants: Companies that Choose to be Great Instead of Big

Why did I chose this resource?

Small.GiantsI chose this this resource because I wanted to be exposed to the lessons learned from smaller companies. It’s easy to accept that pure growth is the only way to succeed as a company. I wanted to learn about different approaches used by other successful companies.

What did you learn from it?

The companies profiled in this book share an interesting characteristic: they are determined to be the best at what they do. Their excellence has been recognized by independent bodies inside and outside of their industries. They have avoided public funding, deciding instead to stay privately owned; the majority of stock in the hands of a single of few like-minded individuals. Another key point: wealth can be the byproduct of success in areas other than growth.

Key Knowledge

  • Create Mojo
    • avoid going down paths they had not chosen and did not necessarily want to follow
    • intimate relationship with the local city they do business in
    • cultivated intimate relationships with customers and suppliers based on personal contact, one-on-one interactions, and mutual commitment to deliver on promises
    • unusually intimate workplaces that strive to address a broad range of their employees’ needs as human beings
    • wide variety of corporate structures and modes of governance
    • leaders of the company brought passion to what they did
  • do not sacrifice the authenticity of the product to expand sales
  • Avoid the Market’s Pressure to Grow
    • can’t exist as a small giant if you’re in an industry where your success depends on how big your company becomes (pressure to grow fast is irresistible)
      • competition from competitors will too heavily impact your strategic decisions
      • focus on controlled growth that preserves the company’s culture while creating new opportunities for employees
    • have to learn how to say no to growth for growth’s sake
      • hard for entrepreneurs to say no to growth, even if that growth may transform the company in ways that can’t be foreseen, and which may not be desired
      • by the time the company realizes it is too big, too many commitments have been made – to customers, employees and suppliers – that they can’t be broken easily
  • Ego
    • Ego is another source of pressure to grow: Bigger + More = Better (false belief)
    • Desire for status and prestige make it difficult to stay focused on what is truly important
  • A positive difference
    • a small giant’s mojo comes, in part, from an active appreciation of a buseinss’ potential to make a positive difference in the lives of the people with whom it comes into contact
      • that appreciation makes possible the intimacy the small giants are able to achieve with employees, customers, suppliers and the community

How are you using what you learned?

Reaching out to establish ties in our community. Saying no to clients that don’t fit what we need / our model.

Key Changes / Key Actions

  • Improve our personal contact with customers
  • We need to refocus ourselves on being the best at what we do
  • Ensure that all current and future activities are oriented towards our value proposition; don’t let internal/external pressures dictate what we do / don’t do at the expense of what we value most


  • Name : Small Giants: Companies that Choose to be Great Instead of Big

  • Author : Bo Burlingham
  • Link to Book

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