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Management gurus love to tell companies to reinvent themselves. The Bainies do something more interesting: they preach simplicity. They argue that most successful companies share three virtues. They have a highly distinctive core business. They make great efforts to keep their business model as simple as possible. And they apply it relentlessly to new opportunities.
The Bain authors argue that there are three ways to apply the repeatability model. Some companies, such as American Express, target ever more precise groups of customers. Some apply the model to new markets: Nike has brought its “swoosh” to one sport after another. Some apply the same management system to lots of different businesses: Danaher, an American holding company that specialises in manufacturing, has applied its “lean” management system, the Danaher Business System, to the 85 businesses it has bought over the past ten years.