When John Brown took over as Stryker CEO, he set an ambitious but attainable goal of 20% annual growth -- and started handing out mounted snorkels to workers who couldn't keep their head above the waterline. People worked hard to avoid the shame of receiving a snorkel, and Brown was careful to set goals that didn't overstretch the company's resources. "John Brown understood that if you want to achieve consistent performance, you need ... the ambition to achieve and the self-control to hold back," writes Jim Collins.

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