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All the Right Moves: A Guide to Crafting Breakthrough Strategy Hardcover – 1 Sep 1999
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Constantinos Markides contends that the essence of business strategy is to allow a company to create and exploit a unique strategic position in its industry. To do so, the company must make clear and explicit choices based on the answers to three difficult questions: Who should I target as customers? What products or services should I offer them? How should I do this in an efficient way? Any company engaged in strategy making must raise these questions, identify possible answers, and then choose what to do and what not to do. The objective should be to come up with ideas that differentiate the firm from its competitors - and thus stake out a unique strategic position. In "All the Right Moves", a highly practical handbook on the fundamentals of strategy, Markides helps managers zero in on the critical choices that lie at the heart of all innovative strategies. More important, Markides argues that even the best of strategies have a limited life. It is not enough to develop a unique strategic position or to improve the existing one. Companies must continually create and colonize new strategic positions, a difficult if not impossible task for many established firms.Markides explains how to overcome the obstacles to innovation so that even well-established companies can innovate by breaking the rules of the game. "All the Right Moves" reveals how creative thinking leads to strategic innovation - the 'breakthroughs' that separate winning strategists from also-rans. Markides approaches strategic thinking as a creative process in which examining an issue from a variety of angles often proves more productive than merely gathering data, and experimenting with new ideas can be more effective than conducting much scientific analysis. He poses key questions for readers to ask as he guides them through a step-by-step framework for developing their strategic thinking skills. In a refreshingly clear and practical approach, "All the Right Moves" offers concrete advice for thinking through the tough choices that all business strategists must face. It distills the important elements of strategy into an easy-to-follow system for crafting today's -and tomorrow's- breakthrough business strategies.
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I've recently gone back to it and hadn't realised just how influencing it had been in my thinking about business strategy and development.
It should be seen as a classic business strategy text, at least in the "strategy as positioning" school. The fact that it isn't is due to one thing.
It makes strategy sound too easy and logical and business books have to be sold on the idea that the contents are new and exciting.
Can strategy really be captured in three big questions:
1) Who are the customers you want to sell to?
2) What products and services are you going to sell?
3) How can you do it efficiently?
Once you have your answers and you have implemented them into your business, it's important you don't stop and think "job done".
It's vital you keep questioning the business. Things change as new positioning opportunities open up and existing opportunities either become too competitive or shrink.
Customers' fundamental needs probably won't change but the priority of the choice criteria will. Products evolve technologically advanced do capabilities and processes. What was impossible becomes possible or even standard.
The book is copyrighted in 2000 and Amazon indicate it was released in 1999.
This inevitably means the examples are old, even though I can remember many of them. Strategy has also been forced to change and recognise the nature of markets. A book called"Your Strategy Needs A Strategy" by Martin Reeves helps you decide if this positioning approach is appropriate in your market. I think it is when you get away from the high tech, fast moving industries.
Paul Simister is a business coach who helps business owners who are stuck, get unstuck.
STRATEGIC POSITIONING is simply the sum of a company's answers to three questions:
> WHO should I target as customers?
> WHAT products or services should I offer them?
> HOW can I best deliver these products and services to these customers?
Strategy is all about making tough choices in these three dimensions (who, what, and how). Remember that deciding what NOT to do is just as important as deciding what to do...
The next issue is then to construct the appropriate organizational environment that will support the choices made. Also in this area, Markides contributes with a refreshingly clear and practical approach.
Markides argues that even the best of strategies will only have a limited life. Thus, companies must continually evaluate their performance and position in order to be able to quickly create and colonize new strategic positions. Strategy is a dynamic concept - not static. A very practical approach to innovate strategic thinking is to keep starting the process at different points: who/what/how, who/how/what, what/who/how, what/how/who, how/what/who, how/what/who, and finally how/who/what.
Thus, The marketing philosophy always starts externally at the customer (who?) and works backwards towards solutions (what?), and finally adapts the firm's delivery system (how?). But a strong trend during the last decade has been on the internal perspective on core competences, such as procurement or production. This method means that we start with own unique capabilities in the delivery system (how?), which then is translated into solutions (what?) and finally customers (who?). Radical innovation often is created this way, e.g. the "walkman". In practice of business development, we usually have to work in both directions.
This book is not a dry academic's dusty words. Markides uses a wealth of case stories on strategic positions. Being a Dane, I find it very nice indeed that the companies cited often are of European origin.
Nirmalya Kumar's brilliant book "Marketing as Strategy" (2004) expands on Markides' ideas in this book. They both are indebted to professor Derek Abell for the original concept presented in the landmark strategy book: "Defining the business" (1980).
MSc in International Business (Marketing & Management) and Graduate Diploma in E-business
I like two things about this book. First, it can be easily explained to anyone. Second, it always goes back to basics and asks you to perform the test; who is your target customer, what value do you offer and how are you going to deliver the value? If you can not answer any of these questions, that means you need to think more about your business strategy.