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Keith R. McFarland

Keith R. McFarland

Author of the Wall Street Journal #1 Best Seller 'The Breakthrough Company: How Everyday Companies Become Extraordinary Performers'
Language : English

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  • Management
    • Change Management
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  • Leadership & Strategy
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  • Consultancy
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  • Entrepreneurship
  • Management insights
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  • Leadership

As a technology CEO, business school dean, consultant and writer, Keith McFarland has provided management insight to organizations for more than twenty years. He writes a monthly online column for 'BusinessWeek', and is founder of McFarland Strategy Partners, which provides strategic advisory services to companies such as Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, The Los Alamos National Laboratory, Vans, House of Blues, Motorola, and scores of middle market growth firms. Prior to establishing his

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As a technology CEO, business school dean, consultant and writer, Keith McFarland has provided management insight to organizations for more than twenty years. He writes a monthly online column for 'BusinessWeek', and is founder of McFarland Strategy Partners, which provides strategic advisory services to companies such as Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, The Los Alamos National Laboratory, Vans, House of Blues, Motorola, and scores of middle market growth firms.

Prior to establishing his consultancy, he served as CEO of two technology firms — most recently Nivo International, the exclusive provider of certification services for Microsoft Office products through 2,000 testing centers in 56 countries worldwide.

McFarland previously served as chairman and as CEO of Collectech Systems, a two-time Inc. 500 company in Westlake Village, CA. He led the transformation of Collectech into the leading customer contact and accounts receivable management service provider for the telecommunications industry. As a result of his efforts, Collectech’s revenues grew from $10 million to $100 million in four years as it secured multi-year contracts with Verizon, AT&T, Direct TV and many other leading telecommunications firms. He successfully sold the Company to buy-out firm Harvest Partners and GE Capital.

While running Collectech, McFarland pursued the life-long dream to study with management theorist Peter Drucker — he has completed his coursework and qualifying exams for a doctorate from the Drucker School of Business at Claremont University.

At the age of 26, Mr. McFarland became one of the youngest business school deans in the nation. As a dean for the Pepperdine University School of Business and Management (once named by 'BusinessWeek' as the 11th best executive program in the world) he developed joint-venture executive education programs in the US, Europe, and Asia and founded the quarterly business journal 'Management Insight'. He ranked consistently as one of Pepperdine's top professors in executive student evaluations.

McFarland's latest book, 'The Breakthrough Company' — which is being heralded as the Good to Great for growth companies — represents the most exhaustive study of successful growth companies in history. He and his research team spent five years assembling and analyzing a database of more than 7,000 companies — every company to ever be named to Inc. magazine's annual list of 500 fastest growing companies. In addition to debuting as #1 on the 'Wall Street Journal' list, the book was also listed on the National Best Seller lists of the 'New York Times', 'BusinessWeek', the 'Los Angeles Times', and 'USA Today'.

McFarland is a frequent speaker to executive groups and business organizations.

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Cover van The Breakthrough Company

The Breakthrough Company

Title: 
The Breakthrough Company
Subtitle: How Everyday Companies Become Extraordinary Performers
Author: 
Keith R. Mcfarland
Publisher: 
Crown Business
Language: 
English
Hardcover: 
288 pages
ISBN: 
978-03-073-5218-7

The vast majority of small businesses stay small — and not by choice. Only the most savvy and persistent — a tiny one tenth of one percent — break through to annual sales above $250 million. In 'The Breakthrough Company', Keith McFarland pinpoints how everyday companies become extraordinary, showing that luck is a negligible factor. Rather, breakthrough success turns out to be associated with a clearly identifiable set of strategies and skills that anyone in any business can emulate — from small start-up to industry leader.

Encouraged by experts such as business legend Peter Drucker and Good to Great author Jim Collins to identify the drivers that enable a company to push past the entrepreneurial phase, McFarland spent five years building and analyzing the world’s largest growth-company performance database and interviewing more than 1,500 growth-company executives on four continents. His goal was simple: to identify the secrets of breakthrough.

'The Breakthrough Company' is the result. Winnowing a study pool of more than 7,000 companies down to nine that have made the transition to major-player status, McFarland highlights real-world tools and myth-busting insights that can be used by anyone wanting his or her business to join this exclusive circle. Among the book's takeaways:

  • Common wisdom holds that the founders and core entrepreneurial leaders of a company must step aside for the business to reach the next level. Not true — as long as founders 'crown the company' instead of themselves.
  • It's not reckless to make ever-escalating bets on your company's future, even going nose to nose with competitors many times your size. In fact, it turns out that the only safety comes in constantly upping the ante in exactly this way.
  • A Business Bermuda Triangle does exist, gobbling up companies on the verge of breakthrough. Presented here are three ways to navigate this potentially deadly hazard successfully.


However good you are — or think you are — you can’t do it alone. Learn how to surround your company with networks of outside resources, aka 'scaffolding', and how to enlist the aid of 'insultants' — people who are willing to question a firm’s existing assumptions and ways of doing business.

With powerful and specific action steps concluding each chapter — and invaluable advice on virtually every page from business leaders who've taken their companies to extraordinary levels of growth and profitability — 'The Breakthrough Company' is one of the most provocative, inspiring, and instructive business books you’ll ever read.