New from the Institute: Grow Different, Not Bigger

Wegmans, a regional grocery chain with just 75 stores in five states, earlier this year beat out its much bigger rivals—Kroger, Publix and Safeway—to be named tops in its industry in a major consumer survey. The recognition caused one marketing expert to note that “you don’t have to be the biggest to be the best.”

In a world in which high-growth companies such as Google tend to grab the headlines, it’s an easy lesson to forget. But it’s one that Peter Drucker promoted. In a 1979 essay, Drucker advised that “nothing can grow forever” and that “today every business needs . . . ways to distinguish healthy growth from fat and cancer.”

British author and social philosopher Charles Handy also echoed these ideas in a 2009 Drucker Centennial lecture. In this short cartoon, the Drucker Institute has brought Handy’s words to life, illustrating the distinction between healthy growth and unchecked “growth for growth’s sake.”