The 20 Mile March: How To Sustain Habits In The Long-Term

Thought Catalog


When John Brown became CEO of Stryker in 1977, he stood before a board room of anxious executives and announced his long-term goal for the company: to achieve 20 percent net income growth every year. [1]

This was more than a Commander’s Intent, it was, to use Brown’s own words, “the law.”

He ingrained “the law” into the company’s culture and made it a way of life.

The law paid off: In 2002, sales reached $3.0 billion and the Michigan-based medical technology firm was listed on the Fortune 500 for the first time.

In fact, every $1 invested in Stryker at the end of 1979 (the year of its initial public offering) and held through 2002, multiplied more than 350 times.

Stryker had a secret to their success: Brown deliberately set a performance benchmark to drive consistent progress.

The Fortune 500 Company sustained their growth for decades because…

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