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Whither golf? The iconic old boy’s game facing erosion?

If you spend any amount of time at corporate retreats, offsites and workshops, as I do, golf is ubiquitous.  Bonding takes place on the course, the post-game conviviality is shared, and team-building exercises pairing golfers and non-golfers are part of the fabric of many such events.  Indeed, a lack of proficiency at the game has even been blamed by serious scholars as a source of career disadvantage for women. But,... read more »

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Don’t listen to what your customers say, watch how they behave

I am often asked by companies with whom I work whether focus groups, surveys or customer panels are useful in learning what customers want and more importantly, what they will pay for.  Sure, these techniques are helpful and sometimes can lead to useful insights. But it is usually a huge strategic mistake to base investment decisions or innovation projects on data gathered through these means.  Why?  A benign explanation is... read more »

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Colleague Jerry Kim on why Apple may be moving from products to platforms

In my Columbia Business School Executive Education course, Leading Strategic Growth and Change, Jerry Kim shares his research on platform versus product strategies and the pluses and minuses of the two.  Rather counterintuitively, he proposed to the class that Apple actually missed a big opportunity to create a platform by pursuing a product strategy.  With a product strategy, everything serves to create a superior product, which in turn is priced... read more »

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When what’s needed is a mindset change

I was chatting the other day with a good client who are located way too far away (but that’s another story).  We talked generally about how his company was doing (very well) and what he sees as some of the challenges looming on the horizon.  When I asked what the single  most important issue that he wants to address in our coming workshop, he said without hesitation “a change in mindset.”  As... read more »

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What trends fuel the disruption list for 2014?

It was really fun to be part of CNBC’s advisory panel to choose the most disruptive 50 companies of the year.  The full list for 2014 can be found at this link. Some of the companies reflect trends that I think will be fundamentally reshaping the way business is done in the coming years, some of which I featured in The End of Competitive Advantage. Access to Assets, not ownership... read more »

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How do we get our middle managers back into a growth mindset?

It’s been five or more years since the Great recession walloped economies all over the world, with the result that for many companies it has been a time of doing not very much but cost-cutting, downsizing, divesting and otherwise holding on to what business they can by their fingernails.  Now, as things are slowly starting to pick up and companies are beginning to once again see opportunities, they are facing... read more »

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End of Competitive Advantage Goes Global & Input please!

The English-speaking version of The End of Competitive Advantage has been doing very well, even reaching the business best-seller list!  We’re now on to versions in other languages.  So far the Portuguese, Turkish and Russian editions have been published.  Soon to come is the Japanese Version, which is scheduled to be officially published on June 20, 2014 (more on that shortly).  We’ve contracted for Simple Chinese, Complex Chinese and Korean,... read more »

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Portuguese edition of End of Competitive Advantage now available

Just in time for the World Cup in Brazil, I’m delighted to be able to say that the Portuguese-language edition of The End of Competitive Advantage is now available for purchase.  You can get to it from this link.  Happy reading! Desejo-vos o melhor e agradeço-vos do fundo do coração Rita   read more »

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Breakfast session June 4th with WOBI on Innovation

I’m very much looking forward to a breakfast session next week that I’ll be running as part of a partnership between Columbia Business School and WOBI in New York. We’ll be talking about how you can be an effective competitor when advantages last for shorter and shorter periods of time.  Let me know if you might have an interest in attending – it will be bright and early with enough time... read more »

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Sustainable advantage, Transient Advantage and Organizational Change

In an insightful blog that is part of a series HBR is running on the intersection between Strategy and Innovation, editor Sarah Cliffe interviews colleague Don Sull, who argues that you can think of the “sustainability” school as the thesis, the “transient advantage” camp as the antithesis and the organizational change folks as the synthesis of the two, requiring a degree of ambidexterity on the part of managers. In support... read more »

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Continuous reconfiguration – commended paper by Emerald Insight

Emerald Insight commended the research behind a recent paper, Continuous Reconfiguration in the Transient Advantage Economy.  In a nutshell, what I found was that firms that were capable of delivering consistent performance over a relatively long period of time did not tend to have dramatic downsizings, firings or major restructuring.  What you see instead is that they change in small ways, but with a quick pace.  In fact, you don’t... read more »

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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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