“If you closed your doors today how long would it take and how difficult would it be for your customers to find someone else to meet their needs as well as you did?”
It’s the question that makes you wonder just how unique your services are.
Her book is written around the work she did as a Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School working with global CEOs and COOs on the Entrepreneur, Owner, President (EOP) programme.
She wanted to address some of what she saw were shortcomings in the way strategy had been taught (too much emphasis on formulation and not enough on implementation) since Michael Porter had moved businesses on from SWOT analyses.
She also challenged the belief that if you’d been successful in one company you could be successful anywhere. She cites another writer who called it “ the sense of omnipotence that plagues American management, the belief that no event or situation is too complex or too unpredictable to be brought under management control” and calls it the “myth of the super-manager”, the managers who see themselves as action-oriented problem-solvers.
She’s not the only person to question just how good American managers are. But what she is intent on doing is re-integrating strategy and leadership into businesses. She asks the delegates on Day 1 “Are you a strategist?”
For her it begins with purpose. That’s where performance differences start. And for her purpose is ennobling , it puts a stake in the ground, it makes you distinct, and it sets the stage for value creation.
And to go back to the first paragraph: “If your company disappeared today would the world be different tomorrow?”
So if you want to have a re-think about your company’s purpose and your strategy this is the book to make you think hard about that containing examples from IKEA, Gucci, Wal-mart and Apple among many.