Mindset to action: Imperatives for Growth

Profitable growth is difficult to achieve and sustain even in the best of times. Nevertheless, some companies succeed, and their experience can teach others.

Growth remains a top priority for C-level executives, but for many, achieving and sustaining growth remains elusive. In fact, about a quarter of companies don’t grow at all, often because leaders limit their exploration of growth opportunities and neglect to make multiple bets. Knowing where to focus has become especially difficult recently as companies struggle with skyrocketing inflation and heavy competition for talent.

Even under these conditions, however, profitable, sustained growth remains a possibility. The evidence lies in the successes of high-performance companies. In the last decade, one in eight companies in the S&P 500 achieved 10 percent annual growth, and one in ten maintained growth rates above GDP growth for more than 30 years.

Outperforming executives break the powerful force of inertia. They do this by rethinking growth strategy and taking decisive steps to put critical talent and resources behind a well-defined, timeless growth plan while taking into account imperatives for success.

Executives who achieve profitable, sustainable growth are deeply committed to implementation of their growth strategy, from mindset to bold actions. They back up their commitment by investing in well-defined growth bets and ensuring they have invested in a set of critical enablers of that growth, such as an M&A engine and capability building. Above all, these leaders understand that growth is achieved by confidently pursuing the timeless growth imperatives while nimbly cutting through disruptions and steering the business through uncertainty.

This collection of rich insights and articles was assembled to help executives and their companies own the next era of growth. In the following pages, you’ll find ways to set the right growth aspirations and mindset, invest in a comprehensive set of timeless growth initiatives, and execute with excellence.

What do growth leaders do differently?


Choosing to grow: The leader’s blueprint

– Driving sustainable, inclusive growth requires the right mindset, strategy, and capabilities. Here are some steps that could help foster successful growth.

Set a Growth Aspiration, Mindset, and Culture

Foster an inclusive and sustainable growth mindset & set bold, actionable ambitions to guide your growth, championed by internal leadership, board, and investors

Driving growth while decarbonizing: A conversation with E.ON’s Patrick Lammers

– The COO of customer solutions for one of Europe’s leading energy providers explains how he fosters growth during a historic,... industrywide transition to renewable power.
Book - Featured Insights

CEO Excellence

What if the world’s highest-performing CEOs held a master class to share the skills and practices that have driven their success... over the years?

The CEO agenda in 2022: Harnessing the potential of growth jolts

– Despite uncertainties, the US economy is robust. The year ahead could jolt further growth.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Our future lives and livelihoods: Sustainable and inclusive and growing

– Growth for all, growth for good. Here, we offer a proposal for business, government, and society leaders.

Are you a growth leader? The seven beliefs and behaviors that growth leaders share

– A new survey highlights what separates growth leaders from the pack.

Turbocharging the Core

Achieve excellence in today’s business, adapting to meet shifting customer needs

Seven principles for achieving transformational growth

– Dogged persistence and nimble execution underscore a set of proven ground rules for growth.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Prediction: The future of CX

– Designing great customer experiences is getting easier with the rise of predictive analytics.

Eight lessons on how to get the growth you planned

– Now is not the time to slow down. Growth initiatives are critical for value creation, even survival, throughout an economic cycle.

Innovate & expand into adjacencies

Boost growth by expanding into adjacent industries, segments, & geographies

Committed innovators: How masters of essentials outperform

– New research shows that innovation leaders are rapidly ascending beyond their peers by comprehensively committing themselves to... delivering net new growth at scale.

Igniting your next growth business

– Growth outperformers prioritize expansion into business areas where they have a ‘natural ownership’ advantage.

Ignite growth through breakout businesses

Make bets and build new businesses beyond the core to ignite growth

2021 global report: The state of new-business building

– Business leaders predict that by 2026, half of their revenues will come from products, services, or businesses that haven’t yet... been created. Here’s how new-business building can help bridge that gap through sustainable, inclusive growth.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

The eight essentials of innovation

– Strategic and organizational factors are what separate successful big-company innovators from the rest of the field.

Programmatic M&A

Building the organizational muscle to regularly identify, acquire, and integrate acquisitions to continually enable and accelerate growth

A blueprint for M&A success

– Programmatic M&A can help companies build resiliency, but this approach to deal making requires a solid game plan—one that will guide proactive deal sourcing and opportunistic deal evaluation.

Timely actions

Creating the organizational agility to enable the business to effectively respond to timely headwinds and tailwinds
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Navigating inflation: A new playbook for CEOs

– Few chief executives have faced the challenge of leading a company through an inflationary spike like today’s. Lessons from... strong leaders and bold action can help CEOs make the decisions that only they can make.

Why the post-COVID-19 economic recovery can’t be about ‘growth at all costs’

– The pandemic spurred rapid changes in how consumers and companies behave. How can this new moment create an opportunity for sustainable... and inclusive growth?
Article - Fortune

7 questions can help CEOs set the stage for sustainable and inclusive growth

As the world stands at the start of 2022, consider... this: Economic growth, if pursued sustainably and inclusively, could be a force for societal good, write Asutosh Padhi, Sven Smit, and Anu Madgavkar in Fortune
Discussion Paper - McKinsey Global Institute

Getting tangible about intangibles: The future of growth and productivity?

– Companies that master the deployment of intangibles investment will be well positioned to outperform their peers.