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The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business

The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business

Hardback Harvard Business School Press

By (author) Rita Gunther McGrath, Foreword by Alex Gourlay

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  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 236mm x 23mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 4 June 2013
  • ISBN 10: 1422172813
  • ISBN 13: 9781422172810
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations (black and white)
  • Sales rank: 27,701

Product description

Are you at risk of being trapped in an uncompetitive business? 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.

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Author information

Rita Gunther McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School in New York, is one of the world's leading experts on strategy in highly uncertain and volatile environments. She works with both Global 1000 icons and smaller, fast-growing organizations to help them create an entrepreneurial mind-set, drive growth, and recognize when and how to disengage. McGrath has coauthored several popular books, including Discovery-Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity (2009), MarketBusters: 40 Strategic Moves That Drive Exceptional Business Growth (2005), and The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Strategies for Continuously Creating Opportunity in an Age of Uncertainty (2000). In 2009 McGrath was inducted as a Fellow of the Strategic Management Society, an honor accorded to those who have had a significant impact on the field.

Review quote

"Business leaders should 'have a good look' at Rita McGrath's new book about the importance of a flexible and dynamic business model." -- Entrepreneur magazine (entrepreneur.com) "Unlocking the secrets of competitiveness... In her new book, McGrath debunks the notion of sustainable competitive advantage. It no longer has relevance she says, and instead organizations now need to find ways of leveraging temporary advantages to remain fluid and innovative enough to change tack when those advantages no longer remain." -- Decision "There are a number of valuable lessons in The End of Competitive Advantage that IT leaders can heed and inculcate. It also stands as a challenge for them to shed old, reactionary ways of doing business, and instead assume strategies that differentiate their organizations as innovative thought centers." --CIO Digest "intriguing look at the future" -- BizEd magazine "The End of Competitive Advantage is one of the best business strategy books in recent years. It is readable, well organised and capable of delivering observations that can be absorbed the next strategy meeting. But beyond that it rather importantly updates our assumptions about what will and won't work in that 'fast moving world." -- Engineering and Technology Magazine "The End of Competitive Advantage fits beautifully into the ongoing discussion about what defines successful companies today, and what will continue to in the future." -- 800 CEO READ "The book is well written, well argued, assumes knowledge on the part of the reader without sliding into either corporate speak or the long words of academia, and the argument hard to refute... More importantly, the solutions offered here are immediately actionable." -- Business Traveller (businesstraveller.com) ADVANCE PRAISE for The End of Competitive Advantage: Francisco D'Souza, CEO, Cognizant-- "If competitive advantage was ever sustainable, that time has passed. McGrath's book not only captures the shortcomings of traditional, static models, but lays out the tools that fuel leading performance. The End of Competitive Advantage will give you an entirely new perspective on how to think about strategy." William D. Green, former Chairman, Accenture-- "This smart, readable book addresses today's most significant strategy reality: that we are living in an era of transient advantage. Rita McGrath provides a playbook for this new landscape, showing how you can identify opportunities fast, execute against them at scale, and be unafraid to move on when the situation changes." Sanjay Purohit, Senior Vice President, Infosys Ltd.-- "The urge to hold on to one's established competitive advantage is a vicious trap. McGrath clearly establishes the factors central to building a dynamic competitive edge for an enterprise of tomorrow. Refreshing, insightful, and a must-read." Nancy McKinstry, CEO and Chairman, Executive Board, Wolters Kluwer nv-- "McGrath's groundbreaking work is aptly timed for today's dynamic markets, where winning requires continuous reconfiguration." Klaus C. Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO, Alcoa-- "The End of Competitive Advantage makes clear that high-performance teams have to stay vigilant. Are your leaders seizing new opportunities or just trying to optimize an outdated strategy? Keep your head up and stay alert, or a transient advantage might pass you by." Clayton M. Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School-- "As a long-time member of the Rita McGrath fan club, I was delighted to see this book. Her approach to strategy is fresh and practical and is exactly what managers need today. It acknowledges competitive realities but shows a clear path forward. It is one of the most illuminating takes on how to deal with disruption that I have ever read."