Thinking is what sets human beings apart from the rest of the animal
kingdom. And thinking is what distinguishes each individual human from
all the others. We think differently, and that makes us different people,
because it also makes us do things in a host of different ways. Companies
differ too, due to the fact that they think differently and therefore act differently;
their thinking is strategically different insofar as they follow a wide
variety of strategies.
There is no denying that companies are different, and very much so,
in what they own, the resources they possess (technology, know-how,
intangibles such as the brand, money, buildings, facilities). However, if we
are thinking about future competitive advantages, the most basic resource
will be one that is not included in the list above: people. The above resources
are certainly essential, but strategic thinking and the knowledge and skills
of the people in the organization are what will lead on the company into the
future. It is people who get the company moving. A powerful car with a bad
driver will be overtaken by a less powerful one with a great driver, even if
the first has a big lead.
This explains, for example, how Apple dethroned IBM when it spent
100 times less than its competitor on R&D. Business history is replete with
examples of David slaying Goliath on the basis of his strategic ingenuity.
Rest assured: if you think strategically better than your competitors,
your company will win the competitive battle in the mid or long term.
No matter how superior your competitors may be today, no matter how
substantial their resources may be at present, do not be discouraged. Think,
think strategically. That is the essential resource. It doesn’t cost money, but
money can’t buy it. It’s the key.
The aim of this book is to help you think strategically. It explains simply
and clearly the elements, concepts, analyses and interrelationships that
make up this strategic thinking. Moreover, it offers thinking models as
guides to this process.