Chapter 1: What Is Strategy? (Michael Porter)

7705 WordsSep 27, 201131 Pages
Operational Effectiveness Is Not Strategy For almost two decades, managers have been learning to play by a new set of rules. Companies must be flexible to respond rapidly to competitive and market changes. They must benchmark continuously to achieve best practices. They must outsource aggressively to gain efficiencies. And they must nurture a few core competencies in the race to stay ahead of rivals. Positioning-once the heart of strategy-is rejected as too static for today's dynamic markets and changing technologies. According to the new dogma, rivals can quickly copy any market position, and competitive advantage is, at best, temporary. But those beliefs are dangerous half-truths, and they are leading more and…show more content…
Hoping to keep up with shifts in the productivity frontier, managers have embraced continuous improvement, empowerment, change management, and the so-called learning organization. The popularity of outsourcing and the virtual corporation reflect the growing recognition that it is difficult to perform all activities as productively as specialists. As companies move to the frontier, they can often improve on multiple dimensions of performance at I the same time. For example, manufacturers that adopted the Japanese practice of rapid changeovers in the 1980s were able to lower cost and improve differentiation simultaneously. What were once believed to be real trade-offs - between defects and costs, for example - turned out to be illusions created. B. Strategy Rests on Unique Activities Competitive strategy is about being different. It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value. Southwest Airlines Company, for example, offers short-haul, low-cost, point-to-point service between midsize cities and secondary airports in large cities. Southwest avoids large airports and does not fly great distances. Its customers include business travelers, families, and students. Southwest's frequent departures and low fares attract price sensitive customers who
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