Typically, current thinking responds to the question “given our competitive game and the rules of engagement, how do we play better than lookalike competitors?” The concern is that this will create a strategy based on “game playing” improvements in operational efficiency. But what if competitive dynamics, including the moves of non-traditional competitors, are fundamentally altering the game and the rules?
So the next scary thought is that strategy must be as obsessed with competitive relevance as operational efficiency. There are no prizes for getting much better at the wrong game.
A real concern of Gordon Hewitt who is one of the original and foremost thinkers in this area, recognised worldwide by senior executives, is that many Executives are looking at their industry through old lenses and frameworks. They may be using processes and methodologies that used to describe competitive reality but are out of touch with new competitive dynamics of today’s disruptive world.
In many global industries new competitive games and rules are emerging very quickly. This requires leaders to bring new thinking to old questions eg, what is our industry really about? What is competition for? How is value created and distributed? Where does genuine competitive advantage lie? What does it take to be a true market leader, and how is that measured? Under what circumstances is market share not a good measure of market influence? Is SWOT analysis an exercise in managerial self-delusion?
For executive leaders, it is becoming critically important to distinguish “game playing” strategy from “game changing” strategy. Even significant game playing improvements may leave you chasing the tails of genuine game changers. In today’s media dominated world, “game changer” has become an over-used phrase and corporate battle cry. There are, however, very strict criteria by which to measure strategies which are truly game changing.
If you consider the music industry from the 1950s to the 1990s there were several technical disruptions as the product format changed from vinyl, to tape to compact disc. However many fundamentals of the competitive game continued unchanged, in terms of how recorded music was chosen, packaged, priced, distributed and promoted. But the NEW GAME changer was digitisation ushered in by the internet revolution of the early post millennium years. Many of the traditional industry leaders found it hard to escape from old game thinking.
Similarly if you turned the clock back 10 years most experts were betting that the emerging leaders would come from companies such as Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry. There was no perceived threat at the time to these businesses from companies such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei. Then something happened to mobile telephony which CHANGED THE GAME and rules. The smart phone concept ushered in an era of continuous connectivity. For many users the least used part of the phone became the telephonic function! Samsung’s most recent global adverts for their top of the range S9 model focused almost exclusively on its features as a state of the art camera.
In terms of competitor analysis, companies like Apple and Samsung were not perceived a decade ago as likely future telephonic leaders given how we thought about “the industry, the game and the rules” at that time.. What did they know about telephony? There was no perceived threat!
But new game players like Apple had the ability to INFLUENCE THE EVOLUTION OF THE INDUSTRY. Not just forecast it. They became the architects of convergence. They brought disparate parts of a system together in a converging world. Steve Jobs realised that people would not want to carry several boxes around with them and so the iPhone was born. Apple became the ARCHITECTS of convergence – bringing different industries and products together.
The NEW GAME needs business leaders and HR to have a robust point of view about the future of their future competitive space, how to influence the migration of their existing industry . In dynamic, complex and disruptive market contexts, strategy is no longer a linear, A-B process between two performance points.
In this must attend, (in our view) insightful, thought provoking and at times challenging masterclass Gordon Hewitt will share compelling case studies that prove the importance of switching to NEW GAME thinking and will share his real concern about leaders relying on old methodologies for gaining competitive advantage He will teach you NEW GAME thinking techniques and approaches and start to work with you to develop your own thoughts and strategies and will through his amazing style and insight, light the touch paper for you to begin to become architects who influence your industry.
As a result of attending this masterclass you will:
- Discuss and explore a number of case studies that make the case for NEW GAME thinking
- Gain an insight into the evolution of competition
- Discover how and why the battle for relevance is more important than the battle for efficiency.
- Learn the symptoms of New Game forces
- Understand the nature of the strategic challenge
- Learn and then discuss and explore 5 strategic mirror questions
- What are we competing on? and what are we competing for?
- Who are our competitors in a game changing, disruptive world? (Rarely does disruption come from traditional competitors.)
- How to do early detection and appraisal of unorthodox competitors?
- What happens when market share is no longer a reliable measure of market influence?
- New game market leaders enjoy “nodal power” through their connective position. They are aggregators, convergers, simplifiers, standard setters. Have we considered this?
- Have started to consider: What is your “iPhone?”
- Developed your plan of action for what next
And we are confident that you will want to rush back to the office to start implementing your NEW GAME thinking with your teams.
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