Make imitation your sincerest form of flattery - exact imitation. If you find a successful business idea or management practice, don't get experts to adapt the wheeze to your needs - go to the horse's mouth and copy the template as closely as you can, in detail. In Harvard Business Review, Gabriel Szulanski and Sidney Winter of the Wharton School advise readers to duplicate not only plant and equipment, but also employee skills, practices and - most importantly - the performance measures that show whether the replica is working. Later, you can change any parts of the template that don't fit. Howard Schultz did this with Starbucks, imitating Italian espresso bars, only later changing the features that didn't delight Seattle's coffee-drinkers. So copy Schultz, too.
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