Stanford Graduate School of Business Online

Scaling Up Your Venture Without Screwing Up

Hayagreeva Rao, The Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources
Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford School of Engineering
A free course from Stanford Graduate School of Business
This course has concluded.

The Course

The success of every venture depends on scaling: on sustaining and enhancing its effectiveness as it adds more employees, customers, and locations. The problem, however, is that scaling comes with inherent risk. Even the best founders and teams face setbacks, make mistakes, and must muddle through stretches of confusion and uncertainty.

Professors Huggy Rao and Bob Sutton devoted seven years to understanding the differences between organizations that scale well and those that scale badly. In the process, they have identified what leaders can do to increase their organization's odds of success. They compiled the lessons they learned into the Wall Street Journal best-selling book Scaling Up Excellence: How to Get More Without Settling for Less.

This course is running for the second time after a successful first run in 2014. As of know, there is no plan to run the MOOC again. If you are interested in getting access to all the exclusive content, we suggest you sign up!

For a "behind the scenes" look at the development of the MOOC, watch the video below.

In this course, you will learn the principles that will help you scale up your venture without screwing up.

You'll address questions that cut to the heart of the scaling challenge:

  1. How can you avoid the illusion, impatience, and incompetence that are hallmarks for botched scaling efforts?
  2. What should your strategy be? Should you be more “Catholic" and replicate one model as you grow? Or should you take a more “Buddhist" approach and encourage local customization as your footprint expands?
  3. How can you avoid cognitive overload on yourself and those you lead, while at the same time, add necessary complexity as your team and organizations grows?

The course consists of assigned readings, lectures, exercises, and video interviews. Each week will present you with different questions, and assigned readings from Scaling Up Excellence. Additionally, lectures that extend the insights of the book have been prepared, and the video interviews provide rich practical advice. The video interviews feature some of the most successful venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, such as:

  • Ben Horowitz of renowned venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz
  • Michael Dearing - the early stage venture investing guru of Silicon Valley
  • Ankit Gupta and Akshay Kothari - two Stanford students whose class project turned into Pulse, a venture acquired by LinkedIn
  • Clara Shih, the founder of Hearsay Social, and a board member of Starbucks
  • Selina Tobaccowala, President and CTO of SurveyMonkey and co-founder of Evite
  • Anthony Coles, former CEO of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, which his team grew and then sold to Amgen for 10 billion dollars
  • Kaye Foster-Cheek, former Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Onyx Pharmaceuticals
  • Dr. Jordan Kassalow, founder and co-chairman of VisionSpring, an organization that gives individuals in the developing world access to eyeglasses
  • Kevin Hassey, CEO of VisionSpring
  • Chip Conley, founder and former CEO of Joie de Vivre boutique hotel company and current Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy at Airbnb

Through the exercises, you will be able to apply the learnings directly to develop your scaling plan. At the end of the course, there is a live webinar during which some of the best works from the class will be showcased.

Support for this session of the MOOC has been provided by the Designing Organizational Change Project, which is part of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.

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