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The Persistence Project

Discovering the causes of superior corporate performance

Trying to understand what makes great companies great is the defining quest of popular management research. Sadly, like the quests of great literature – from the grail to the fleece – the search seems endless. Even the most famous and influential efforts at uncovering the causes of enduring success have of late been knocked off their pedestals, and often for good reason. Why should we bother even to try?

Well, if George Mallory wanted to climb Everest because it was there, then, following Thomas Berger, we determined to try our hand at the recipe for persistent superior performance precisely because it isn’t there.

To make any progress, we recognize we’ll have to try a different approach. We’ve begun with advances in statistical techniques to define a unique sample. You can read more about that in our monograph, A Random Search for Excellence.

But there’s more. We’d like to make our research method as transparent and our analysis as collaborative as possible. So you can watch our thinking evolve here, or, better yet, you can get involved in shaping it along the way. Thanks for joining the conversation.

More Featured insights

  • Pulling ahead vs. catching up
    To pull away from the pack one needs to break performance trade-offs by getting better in several ways at once. The struggle for greatness, however, is far more complex and subtle. Prevailing over capable adversaries requires accepting and exploiting trade-offs and very often seeking an advantage in only a very small number of very carefully identified ways, while frequently accepting a performance disadvantage along other dimensions.
  • To thine own self be true
    Sustaining superior performance requires knowing what should change and what should stay the same.
  • A random search for excellence
    Read this monograph on how to separate fable from fact in studies of high performance.
  • Growth's triple crown
    When it comes to exceptional performance, the best companies don’t make trade-offs: They break them
    It is tempting to assume that as companies grow they will see a decline in either or both their profitability and shareholder returns. What if we could find and learn from companies that have delivered superior growth, league-leading profitability and shareholder returns at the same time? What does it take to win growth’s “triple crown”?

Related links

  • In the news
    The Persistence Project and the authors have been featured in the national media.
  • The Innovator's Manifesto
    Access chapter summaries and an excerpt of the book.
  • Participate in The Persistence Project
    Visit these pages for additional resources.

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