The Upside: The 7 Strategies for Turning Big Threats into Growth Breakthroughs

Adrian J. Slywotzky with Karl Weber

Crown,  May 2007

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How to turn your greatest threat into your biggest growth opportunity

Today, when your fortunes can literally change overnight, the new strategic imperative is making your moment of maximum risk your moment of maximum opportunity. In The Upside, Adrian Slywotzky provides bold and original ideas for growth breakthroughs as well as the practical tools to use Monday morning, such as

  • How to change the odds for your next major initiative and create potential industry breakthroughs, as Toyota did with its expanding universe of Prius vehicles.
  • Shape and exploit risk, don't be shaped by it. Become a knowledge-intensive business and continually increase the knowledge gap between yourself and rivals, as Coach and Tsutaya of Japan have convincingly done.
  • A category killer can't kill what's not in its category. When basketball legend Bill Russell faced a taller, stronger Wilt Chamberlain, he led the Celtics to victory by inventing a different game. The same thinking lets Target prosper in a Wal-Mart world -- and can help you outcompete the "unbeatable" rival in your own industry.
  • When you come to a fork in the road -- take it! Only a fraction of companies survive when industries experience technological or strategic transitions. To be a survivor, learn the secret that enabled Microsoft to weather the advent of the Internet -- the art of the double bet.
  • Stuck in a business box? Find the bigger box -- and then the biggest. When growth stagnates, capture more of your customer's dollars through demand innovation and big-box thinking, as companies from Continental AG and Ikea to Procter & Gamble have done.
  • Your competitors can also be your greatest enablers of profit. Stop competing yourself to death! The key is knowing when to compete and when to collaborate, as Apple has shown with its revolutionary approach to the music business.

In the 1980s conventional wisdom was that you could have high quality or low cost, but not both -- until Japanese makers of cars and electronics showed otherwise. Now, high quality and low cost are required just to enter the marketplace. Today, we face a similar paradox when it comes to risk and reward. Rather than shrink from the high risk so integral to the tumultuous global economy, Adrian Slywotzky shows how it can be your greatest source of growth and future reward.

hardcover | ISBN: 9780307351012 | Publication Date: May 2007

"The Upside is all upside -- quintessential clear thinking, Slywotzky at his best. Whether you are on the attack or worried about being attacked, this book shows you how to anticipate and capitalize on opportunities and threats others fail to see."
--Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard Business School, author of The Innovator's Dilemma

"Converting risks into giant opportunities differentiates the leaders of the future. Adrian Slywotzky provides breakthrough thinking in this must-read book."
--Ram Charan, author of Know-How and coauthor of Execution

"The Upside shows ways to create growth breakthroughs from threats that are both practical and inspiring. This is a must-read book."
--Phillip E. Rowley, CEO of AOL Europe 

"Over the many years I have spent in the business world, I have consistently noted that one of the common characteristics of successful companies and entrepreneurs alike is that they are all exceptionally skilled in managing risk, both pure financial risk and long-term strategic risks. The publication of The Upside is very timely indeed . . . it will make you think differently about strategic risk. It will help you recognize -- and act to take advantage of -- the growth opportunities concealed behind the major threats your business will face n the next several years."
--Dr. Clemems Börsig, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG, formerly CFO/Chief Risk Officer, Deutsche Bank AG