The kicker: You have to do all that without screwing the customer, weakening the industry, serving only yourself or doing anything illegal.
Here are Stalk’s strategies:
- Unleash massive and overwhelming force. Bring pressure to bear through price cuts, cost controls, streamlined operations and a better distribution system. Dell, for example, does it through its cost structure.
- Take, borrow or copy an idea. Many other perfectly successful leaders copy what a cutting-edge organization is doing in another industry or another part of the world.
- Go—boldly—after fat margins. By entering markets in which your competitors enjoy big profit margins, you attack their soft underbellies.
- Make your own traditions. If everybody in your business provides full service, try self-service. If everybody closes on Sunday, stay open. If your product or practice is taboo but not overtly harmful, go for it.
— Adapted from Hardball: Are You Playing to Play or Playing to Win? George Stalk and Rob Lachenauer, Harvard Business School Press.