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The Power of Strategic Thinking: Lock In Markets, Lock Out Competitors [Hardcover]

Michel Robert
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 1 1999
Here's a startling concept for anyone who knows anything about business:
"For successful companies, competition is irrelevant." Flying in the face of the conventional wisdom of most senior management today, the internationally noted business consultant Michel Robert explains why gigantically successful businesses ignore their competitors...and reap huge profits! How does it work? A number of CEOs who have used Robert's unique strategic thinking process--and are now true believers--recall in these pages how he enabled them to choose the right strategy for success in today's changing business environment.

Unlike most other consultants, Robert and his staff go to corporate "war rooms"--not the business school library--to develop and hone the strategic thinking process. In more than 400 frank, intensive working sessions with CEOs and their management teams, Robert has tested and validated his methods.

THE POWER OF STRATEGIC THINKING sums up his original and effective strategy of making anyone's competitors irrelevant: Obsession with your competitors leads to "imitation strategy," the common and disastrous mistake of letting the other side set the rules. Result: The house always wins! Imitators lose. The answer: Learn from major companies like Intel, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, and Goldman Sachs--corporate success stories that Robert explains in fascinating detail--how to develop your own "distinctive strategy" and race ahead of the competition.

Learn from the mistakes of copycat companies like Chrysler, Officemax, and all three original TV networks: Robert shows you how imitation strategies will put companies in virtually any field on a suicidal path. From military history, as Robert points out, comes the idea of "ultimate strategy," a proactive, offensive strategy that continually keeps the competition off-balance even as they become more and more irrelevant. Ultimate strategy is achieved when a company controls and/or influences the terms of play for an industry.

Learn from THE POWER OF STRATEGIC THINKING how to set the rules for your own sandbox...or how to find another sandbox where you can! In THE POWER OF STRATEGIC THINKING you can learn how to become a winning company by formulating and implementing a proactive, offensive strategy that will have your own company signature. You will also find out how to widen your competitive advantages. Best of all, your ultimate strategy for success will develop from the power of your own strategic thinking!

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

How winning companies make their competitors irrelevant by changing the rules of the game. As the CEOs of leading companies explain in this singular book of proved corporate strategy-making, Michel Robert's Strategic Thinking turned their companies around. And, to their surprise, they learned to ignore the competition while they were developing their own success-making distinctive strategy.

What is the secret of this unusual approach? Unlike too many consultants who drain millions from today's companies with little or no positive effect, Robert and his staff meet directly with management and learn about a client's business from the inside out. Only then do they bring such concepts as "distinctive strategy" and "ultimate strategy" to bear on the problems and opportunities. The final process is a working collaboration that uses the powerful management tool of Strategic Thinking as a way of focusing on the specific capabilities and ambitions of a company.

Like Robert's many satisfied clients, you too can learn how to develop a distinctive strategy that will distinguish your company in the marketplace -- without making the fatal mistake of trying to imitate the competition. You will see how strategic thinking is the essence of competitive advantage. Robert shows how his breakthrough concept sheds new light on the dramatic success of such innovators as Michael Dell, Ted Turner, Sam Walton, Charles Schwab, and Craig McCaw. The Power of Strategic Thinking is your guide to using Robert's strategic thinking process in your own way to bring out your company's unique potential and recognize its signature driving force. You'll never again be satisfied with conventional business strategies

About the Author

Michel Robert is founder and president of Decision Processes International, Inc., an internationally known consulting firm with 40 partners in 15 countries. His clients include such major companies as Caterpillar, 3M, and GATX. A noted speaker, he has written articles in numerous business magazines and journals, including Forbes, Barron's, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Time and Business Week. He is the author of Strategy Pure & Simple, Product Innovation Strategy Pure & Simple, and Strategy Pure & Simple II. Robert lives in Westport, CT.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas but too much hype Jan. 10 2002
Michel Robert does a very good job of structuring and focusing the process of strategy development. At the very root is simplicity, focus and integrity. The most valuable concepts of the book are: (1) the driving force - what makes your business move forward and what with an 'invisible hand' structures your organization, (2) business concept and (3) zones of excellence. All these concepts are clearly and well explained. They are also thought provoking, insightful and energizing.
But going further through the book becomes more and more exasperating. There too much annoying hype almost on every page and especially in business cases. Often they sound all alike. "We had problems and didn't know what to do. Then we called Robert and guys from DPI opened our eyes. And we started to use DPI Strategic Process ™ and DPI Decision Making ™ and DPI Keep It Simple Stupid ™ and made a lot of money. And we also lost 20 pounds in three weeks. Just call 1-800-Robert..." The author definitely has all rights to promote his company any way he likes but if he believes that his books are read not only by neurotic losers then he should cool down a bit. There is definitely a conflict between content and realization.
Probably as a result of all that hype the book is often repetitive. I believe it is based on a standard promotion presentation. This belief is supported by many silly pictures definitely copied and pasted from PowerPoint. The book is also structured as a presentation: "Tell them what we want to tell. Tell them. Tell them what you told them.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to understand strategy Sept. 11 2000
By A Customer
This is an easy to understand book about strategic thinking. Robert doesn't use complicated terminology or hard to understand concepts. His method for formulating and implementing strategy is straightforward and consise. Anyone wishing to improve their company's strategy should read this book.
Although by itself the book was good and I recommend it, I was disappointed that Robert didn't provide much new information over his previous book Strategy Pure and Simple II. In fact, Robert used many of the same case studies (already three years old in some cases) and the chapters were very similar to his previous book. I also got the sense that the complete methodology he proposes was missing, and his real intention was to have readers call his company for the missing links. For instance, one case study mentions their use of a decision analysis, and potential problem analysis taught by Robert. These seem to be valuable tools that anyone using his method would want to know. He also suggests taking a survey to test your strategic IQ but recommends you send the results to his company for an objective assessment. Great way to generate new business, but he could have been more complete.
I still think it's a good book because it gets you going in the right direction, and helps you organize your thoughts using a proven process. Unfortunately, you will only truly benefit from his process by hiring his firm.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Setting the rules for your own sand-box.... May 18 2000
How do you develop distinctive strategies that will distinguish your company in the market-place? Over the last 25 years, Robert developed his process of strategic thinking through working with CEOs of major and emerging corporations in various industries. His approach comes from working alongside and observing top executives of major organizations in an attempt to identify the concepts of management that they practice, in his case, by osmosis. In this book, he provides invaluable insight of his experiences with CEOs of Companies who have used their process of strategic thinking, and unlike other approaches, why their process has stood the test of time. There are clear explainations of the concept, examples and case studies from a wide range of industry sectors and organizations that readers can relate to. These are used to contextualize and demonstrate the applications of the concept discussed. Overall,Robert presents everything in a clear, compact and accesible manner. You will never look at your competitors the same way again!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read! May 31 2001
This book makes several excellent points about strategy. To find them, the reader must slog through pages of unremitting, self-promotional hard-sell, snide digs at business guru Michael Porter and contemptuous asides about consulting firms that base their strategic recommendations on research. Readers will miss little if they skip the CEO interviews, which might have provided interesting and informative insights had the author not chosen to focus on compliments to himself and his firm. But the bullet-point outlines of the strategic thinking process will be an eye-opener for many managers unaccustomed to thinking in this manner, and the section is illustrated robustly with real-life examples. Robert’s analysis of the driving forces of various businesses makes the entire effort worthwhile. ...get this book for executives and entrepreneurs in any industry.
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