They really can teach you something at Harvard Business School! II
January 14, 2011 in Uncategorized
I can go into losts more of detail on how the Harvard course on strategy and marketing extended both width and depth of perception – it is a course in perception! – but here are a couple of pointers where they diverge from received wisdom and where I found Anand and Oberholzer-Gee very illuminating.
- They point to the dangers of benchmarking – yes the dangers of benchmarking! It leads to trying to improve on all those items where you lag the opposition, whereas the point of strategy is to open the gap between you and your opposition. In some items you should be lagging. The wish to improve on all fronts is too expensive and destroys differentiation.
- They point to the danger of the “core competency” mantra. Once again, it is not excelling in you core competency that leads to success, but wheter you can credibly create a distinctive offering between you and your opposition – and they are not talking appearances or perception, they are talking hard core strategy.
- This lead to the third point, and this is one where I have for long intuitively agreed with them, got lots of resistance when I propagated the concept: A good product, even an excellent product does not guarantee business success. You can achieve business success with a relatively poor product or service. It’s not about the quality of the product or service as such, but about the relative quality of your product imbedded in a system with numerous other elements.
That brings us to their definition of strategy.
Hopefully on Monday, I’m off tomorrow to the Mideast. Depending on connectivity I will post on Monday!