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Ducks in a Row: Robert Sutton—Scale Means People

by Miki Saxon


Stanford management professor Robert Sutton has a new book out called Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More without Settling for Less.

In it Sutton says, “Scale means the spreading of excellence from the few to the many”.

As usual, Sutton is right on and TechCrunch columnist Andrew Keen is way off.

So is Bob Sutton right? Is everything in Silicon Valley really about people? And are the most successful companies those that are best able to scale their organization?

I say that because anywhere, not just in Silicon Valley, but in every town, city and country, it’s about people.
It’s about people because there is no such entity as a company.

What is a company other than a piece of paper showing that the government recognizes its existence and that it owes taxes?

Is it the office buildings that house it? The manuals that explain it? The stock that represents its value?


A company isn’t an entity at all. It’s a group of people all moving in the same direction, united in a shared vision and their efforts to reach a common goal.

And that group attitude is best summed up as culture, which is a living/growing/changing depiction of those people and their MAP (mindset, attitude, philosophy™).

Google, 3M and P&G are examples of a number of people who are all eager, or at least willing, to move in the same direction.

Whereas at Yahoo people move in multiple directions or refuse to move at all. In part that reflects the differences of people hired over the years through multiple cultures that were not all that synergistic.

Yes, it’s the people. It has always been the people all the way back to our hunter ancestors.

And it will always be the people.

Flickr image credit: Kitty Schweizer

One Response to “Ducks in a Row: Robert Sutton—Scale Means People”
  1. Leadership Development Carnival: June 2014 Edition Says:

    […] Saxon of MAPping Company Success shares “Ducks in a Row: Robert Sutton—Scale Means People” and says, “It’s important to understand that a company has no existence beyond its […]

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