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What do The Weather Channel, Apple’s iPod and future banking services all have in common?

These players often created entire categories of new consumption – from just-in-time and on demand weather updates, to a transformative way to listen to your own content whenever you felt like it to new kinds of enabling technologies like consumer credit cards.  And yet, over time, the pressures of competition and erosion of competitive advantage can come to take their toll on even the most once-popular products and services. Take... read more »

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Say it isn’t so…my beloved iPod has gone into erosion

In my book The End of Competitive Advantage, I point out that even extremely potent advantages are subject to erosion.  Even when they were once hugely popular, transformative and much loved, like the Apple iPod music player.  This device had the most extraordinary impact – it basically showed the door to Sony’s Walkman, made “record stores” obsolete, gave Apple access to our complete consumption experiences, right down to handing the... read more »

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Postponed – CBS Sunday Morning Show March 23 9am with Rita

CBS Correspondent Martha Teichner and I had a stimulating conversation about disruption that will be part of CBS “Sunday Morning’s” annual Money program.  We chatted about businesses that have become vulnerable to disruption and why it is increasingly prevalent, sharing some ideas from my work on transient advantage.  Tune in this Sunday at 9am to see the whole segment! read more »

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Organizational agility: The CEO’s top concern?

Last week at the Managing Partners’ Forum held on March 12 in London, Caspar de Bono of the Financial Times opened this high-level conference for leaders of professional services firms with an observation about the biggest single concern besetting CEO’s.  He argues that despite all the other things that could provoke a CEO’s angst – natural events, war, price shifts, competition, whatever – that all these things are wrapped up... read more »

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Davos CEO Session: Organizational Agility and Learning in a Complex World

The World Economic Forum has introduced a well-received innovation in their program lineup, what they call the CEO Series.  These feature CEO’s as panelists and the audience consists of only CEO’s and similarly high-level folks from government and NGO’s.  I was delighted to be invited to moderate a truly stellar panel of extremely international CEO’s who were willing to share their wisdom on how they create or maintain organizational agility. ... read more »

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Davos session: Future of International e-tailing

While in Davos, a panel on the future of international e-retailing was convened with representative CEO’s from major international logistics, supply chain and retail providers.  The panel opened with the question of why international e-retailing had been so slow to really take off, given clear demand from people in one geography for goods and services that might only be available in another, for instance, people living overseas who might like... read more »

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Is your firm ready for a world of transient advantage? Please contribute to a new benchmark devised by Rita McGrath

I’ve been working with Richard Chaplin, Founder of the Managing Partners’ Forum, on an MPF survey that measures the extent to which different sectors are ready for a world of transient competitive advantage. The survey explores current ways of working, the actual or perceived mindset of the leader, and the personal mindset of the respondent. The primary outcome is a benchmark that should help the management of any organization to... read more »

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CVS and the decision to drop tobacco sales – savvy strategic repositioning?

CVS’s decision to stop offering tobacco products is an example of a company shifting its resources from cash-flow-generating, but declining businesses into higher growth markets.  Tobacco, although a cash cow for many retailers (and a boon to local government coffers from the taxes on the product), is a business that in the United States at least is unlikely to ever be a growth engine again. In a way, the decision... read more »

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MarketDrivenGrowth: Driving Organic Growth and Innovation

Bob Cooper, Academic Director and Senior Fellow at the Kellogg School of Management reviews The End of Competitive Advantage (“fabulous book”) and discusses the five internal barriers that leads to growth stagnation here. read more »

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Inc.: Is It Easy for Your Customers to Leave You?

You’ve heard of barriers to entry, but it’s barriers to exit that determine the strength of your business model, according to Rita Gunther McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School. What’s an exit barrier? Simply put, it’s the combination of factors preventing customers from leaving. “In general, business models that create exit barriers, for which there are switching costs -; which are not transactional and which to some extent lock customers... read more »

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Heading to the World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos

Next week, the World Economic Forum will be having its annual meeting in snowy Davos, Switzerland.  I’m honored to be one of the subject matter experts they have invited to moderate sessions, offer challenges and advice and generally hobnob.  This year, I’m going to be moderating a CEO panel on “Organizational Learning in a Complex World.”  My panelists are amazing, including the CEO of Booz & company, the CEO of... read more »

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Talk about industries competing with industries: PC’s versus weddings

Heard an interesting story on the radio the other day.  An author (wish I wrote down his name) was being interviewed about a project he’s working on that involves understanding the financial lives of Americans.  One of the young women he studied was trying to save up to buy a new PC. But, she found that in her age group everybody was getting married, and the expenses of the weddings... read more »

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The Future of Enterprise: Panel at the Thinkers50 Event

The final panel of the “education” day at the Thinkers50 management event in London on November 11 followed on panels debating the future of management education and the future of work.  This one was called The Future of Enterprise and featured panelists Pankaj Ghemawat, Anil Gupta, Richard Rumelt and Roger Martin.  There was a fair amount of skepticism among the panelists that the traditional, stable organizations many of us have come... read more »

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The Future of Work: Panel at the Thinkers50 Event

Stuart Crainer of the Thinkers50 moderated a dream panel of people to comment on where “work” is going, including my dear friend Lynda Gratton (who just won an HR lifetime achievement award!), Amy Edmondson, Tammy Erickson and another dear friend Stew Friedman.  They didn’t all agree where work was heading, which made for a stimulating dialogue. One panelist (we’re under Chatham House rules here, so I can’t name names) observed that many... read more »

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The Future of Business Education – Panel at the Thinkers50 Event

Des Dearlove of the Thinkers50 chaired an amazing panel on November 11, 2013 entitled “The Future of Business Education”.  It was sponsored by Dean Santiago Iniguez of the IE business school, and featured as panelists Clark Callahan, the Dean of Executive Education at the Tuck School, Roger Martin of the Rotman School, Noel Tagoe, the Executive Director of Education for CIMA and myself. For the most part, the panelists were... read more »

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