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Competing for the Future Paperback – Apr 1 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (April 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875847161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875847160
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.1 x 20.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 481 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #234,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Winning in business today is not about being number one--it's about who "gets to the future first," write management consultants Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad. In Competing for the Future, they urge companies to create their own futures, envision new markets, and reinvent themselves.

Hamel and Prahalad caution that complacent managers who get too comfortable in doing things the way they've always done will see their companies fall behind. For instance, the authors consider the battle between IBM and Apple in the 1970s. Entrenched as the leading mainframe-computer maker, IBM failed to see the potential market for personal computers. That left the door wide open for Apple, which envisioned a computer for every man, woman, and child. The authors write, "At worst, laggards follow the path of greatest familiarity. Challengers, on the other hand, follow the path of greatest opportunity, wherever it leads." They argue that business leaders need to be more than "maintenance engineers," worrying only about budget cutting, streamlining, re-engineering, and other old tactics. Definitely not for dilettantes, Competing for the Future is for managers who are serious getting their companies in front. -- Dan Ring --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Hamel and Prahalad (coauthors of Harvard Business Review) develop judicious, provocative managerial theses in this sophisticated work. Rejecting recent downsizing and reengineering trends, they present their blueprint for transforming an industry's structure, which, they stress, is the primary challenge facing today's managers. The authors focus on tomorrow's competition and opportunities, vitalizing the company for the future and outrunning competitors to "get to the future first." Pioneering ideas on strategy, leadership competencies and market forces abound in this study. Concepts are presented with numerous visual aids. 50,000 first printing; $75,000 ad/promo; first serial to Fortune; author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Few companies that began the 1980s as industry leaders ended the decade with their leadership in tact and undiminished. Many household name companies saw their success eroded or destroyed by tides of technological, demographic and regulatory change and order-of-magnitude productivity gains made by nontraditional competitors. "Do you really have a global strategy", the first HBR article by Hamel and Prahalad, developed the theme that small companies could prevail against larger, richer companies by inventing new ways of doing more with less. Differences in resource effectiveness could not be explained by efficiency, labor or capital, but by amazingly ambitious goals that stretched beyond typical strategic plans, raising the question how such incredible goals could get past the credibility test and be made tangible and real to employees? Frequently the small challengers rewrote the rules of engagement; flexibility and speed were built atop supplier-management advantage, built atop quality advantages. Companies made commitments to particular skill areas a decade in advance of specific end-product markets. How did executives select which capabilities to build for the future? Some managers were foresightful, others imagined and gave birth to entirely new products and services. These managers created new competitive space while laggard companies protected the past rather than creating the future. Existing theory throws little light on what it takes to fundamentally reshape an industry and the gap provoked this book in which the goal is to enlarge the concept of the industry and not just the organization. Being incrementally better is not enough because a company that cannot imagine the future won't be around to enjoy it.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Hamel and Prahalad brought two ideas to the forefront of management in the 1990s: Creating a strategic intent that dominates corporate thinking, and then understanding the core competencies that the organization requires to get there. Rather than create numerous 5 year plans, communicate the direction and insure you have the skills to get there.
The impact of this was felt across corporate Americas. As companies struggled in reacting to changing times, they would talk more of core competencies instead of certainy of the future. Well run companies could also articulate their vision and what they're good at. (Example GE: "We are #1 or #2 in every business we run. We get there by rigorous management and continuous improvement.") These ideas are here to stay.
Is it all so simple? In Consulting Demons, Lewis Pinault takes issue with Prahalad and his consulting practice at Gemini. He asserts that the ideas can be misapplied to fuel a consulting boom, and that Prahalad's missionary zeal was better for generating consulting fees than for corporate bottom lines.
Bottom line - the book is a good introduction to some important strategic concepts. Although it is no longer required reading at top consulting firms, it is still relevant and important. Just take the ideas (like all pop management ideas) with a grain of salt.
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Format: Hardcover
Corporate strategy texts are notorious for their short shelf lives, but it is instructive to revisit them during business downturns and understand what they contributed and also where they fell short.
Now that the future has happened - nine years after this book was published - what would the authors say about the dot.com bust and the collapse of erstswhile visionary corporate giants such as Enron and Global Crossing?
In 1994, the authors wrote that the goal of competition QUOTE is not to simply benchmark a competitor's products and processes and imitate its methods, but to develop an independent point of view about tommorow's opportunities and how to exploit them. UNQUOTE By this criterion, how exactly did the dot.com dwarfs or giants of the late 1990s, many of which were hailed as exactly the kind of visionary enterprises the authors encourage, fail to leave a lasting legacy?
Certainly, other breakthrough management guides have not been exempt from the harsh judgment which the benefit of hindsight might impose only a few years after these books come out. Such a fate befell one of the renowned predecessors to this book, In Search of Excellence, half of whose most admired corporations ran into serious difficulties within a few years of publicaiton of the book.
None of this undercuts some important contributions this book does continue to make about how organizations should anticipate, manage and thrive amidst rapid change. The single most important idea in this book is that of leveraging core competencies, so that a business continually focuses on what it can do best and most profitably, rather than on what it is currently doing.
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Format: Paperback
"Every company must move to the future with all due hast." The belief of waiting until some other company is successful mayl position the waiting company into a can't catch up scenerio. Its better to be a pioneer and lead from the front. The goal is to arrive with the stuff customers want, first.
"Competition for the future is competition to create and dominate emerging opportunities, to stake out new competitive space." Today's company's future depends, on its ability to achieve intellectual leadership, by identifying a solid view point of the future.
Next migration paths of developments must be managed transforming todays processes into tommorows processes.
Finally, by developing for the future the company position themselves among is peers, first in the market. By arriving first, the company has time to build infra-structure, to maintain dominance in the space. A high level blue print called a strategic plan allows the company define their view point of the future.
Here are three questions to help build the best assumptions necessary to build the future:
What type of customer benefits should the company seek in 5, 10, 15 years?
What competencies will we need to build or acquire in order to offer these benefits to the customer?
How will we need to reconfigure the customer interface over the next several years.
Each healthy company must have a commitment to the future. Senior management must actively review strategic projects and be involved in resource allocation. This means the best talent is assigned to solve the problems of tommorow. Senior manage must have a point view of what type of people will feel comfortable while designing and building the future company.
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