Chances are the strategies that worked well for you even a few years ago no longer deliver the results you need. Dramatic changes in business have unearthed a major gap between traditional approaches to strategy and the way the real world works now.
In short, strategy is stuck. Most leaders are using frameworks that were designed for a different era of business and based on a single dominant idea—that the purpose of strategy is to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. Once the premise on which all strategies were built, this idea is increasingly irrelevant.
Now, Columbia Business School professor and globally recognized strategy expert Rita Gunther McGrath argues that it’s time to go beyond the very concept of sustainable competitive advantage. Instead, organizations need to forge a new path to winning: capturing opportunities fast, exploiting them decisively, and moving on even before they are exhausted. She shows how to do this with a new set of practices based on the notion of transient competitive advantage.
This book serves as a new playbook for strategy, one based on updated assumptions about how the world works, and shows how some of the world’s most successful companies use this method to compete and win today.
Filled with compelling examples from “growth outlier” firms such as Fujifilm, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Infosys, Yahoo! Japan, and Atmos Energy, The End of Competitive Advantage is your guide to renewed success and profitable growth in an economy increasingly defined by transient advantage.
I read the book February 2014. On Goodreads I concluded my reading progress with “Funny to realize that a strategy guru is at her best translating trends to one’s personal level”. That statement dealt with the last chapter.
During the process of formulating my thoughts, i linked her recommendations to Taleb’s Antifragile. That does not imply that McGrath’s work deals with disorder. It describes an approach how the world now operates and what mindset organizations need to operate successfully in forever changing circumstances.
And the last chapter takes it to the professional and personal level. Not about corporations, CEO but about you and me. How to deal, how to survive and even how to thrive.
Acknowledge that the world and work has become volatile and you have to adapt. As McGrath states” “in a world of sustainable advantages”, you could actually plan a career path and expect a relatively long employment relationship with companies” (italics by Fred).
In the past there was infrequent job hunting and your career was mainly managed by your organization. Now and in the future you manage your career and professional all by your yourself in a permanent career campaign. And that leads us to the question how vulnerable you are and what one can do to mitigate that vulnerability. Be sure, in a world of transient advantage, business leaders will only keep those staff members who are indispensable to the companies (uncertain) future. And that’s why flux is increasingly the norm for the careers of more and more people.
The last chapter has a self-assessment form and enables you to consider your weaknesses and strengths. In such a way that you can develop your own professional personal strategy for a transient advantage. Items that are addressed are amongst others:
- If your current employer let you go, would it be relatively easy for you to find a similar role in another organization for equivalent compensation.
- If I lost my job today, am i well prepared and know immediately what i would do next.
- Have i worked in some meaningful capacity (employment, consulting, volunteering, partnering) with at least five different organizations within the last two years.
- In the last two years, I’ve learned a meaningful new skill that i did not have before, whether is is work related or not.
- I have attended a course or a training program within the last two years, either in person or virtually.
- I could name, off the top of my head, at least 10 people, who would be good leads for new opportunities.
- I actively engage with at least two professional or personal network.
You need to forge a new path to win: capture opportunities fast, exploit them decisively, and move on even before they are exhausted. And have answers to the above mentioned questions.
The book will support you in finding the answers, on an organization, professional and personal level.