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The GE Work-out: How to Implement GE's Revolutionary Method for Busting Bureaucracy and Attacking Organizational Problems-Fast!
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Competing for the Future
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Working relationships : The simple truth about getting along with friends and foes at work
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Competing for the Future

by Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad

Competing for the Future has earned a well-deserved praise from everyone. It is arguably one of the best strategy books of the 1990's. Competing for the Future examines the dynamics of industries and their markets. They intelligently take into account the impact of digital electronics on the evolution of industries.

The goal of the book is "to help managers imagine the future, and having imagined it, create it" the book does not provide a great framework, but discusses the changes from the traditional strategic insights on a chapter-by-chapter way. The message of the book is to start thinking differently about strategy: "Our starting premise is simple: Competition for the future is competition to create and dominate emerging opportunities - to stake out new competitive space."

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In every chapter, and in some chapters on every page you will come across useful insights and paradigms.

In Chapter 1 - Getting Off the Treadmill - The authors use a table to lay out the framework for all the chapters to follow.

In Chapter 2 - How Competition for the Future is Different - discusses the changes in the competitive challenges and how these changes affect organizations.

In Chapter 3 - Learning to Forget - discusses the fact that companies need to cope with altered environments. "But to create the future, a company must be able to forget some of its past." The goal is to produce a sense of urgency - not a sense of anxiety - and a sense of possibility. "The future must become just as vivid and real as the present and the past."

In Chapter 4 - Competing for Industry Foresight - discusses the goal of competition for industry foresight: "to build the best possible assumption base about the future and thereby develop the prescience needed to proactively shape industry evolution." The authors discuss the need, the development, and the foundations (escape the existing myopia, build curiosity, speculate, search, be contrary, customer-led, empathy for human needs) of foresight.

In Chapter 5 - Crafting Strategic Architecture - the authors explains that companies need a blue-print for turning the dream into reality. The strategic architecture is an ongoing process, since the future will one day become "today". The authors see this process as the map, but discusses the fuel in their next two chapters -

In Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 - Strategy as Stretch and Strategy as Leverage. Strategy as stretch is the engine and fuel for corporate growth and vitality. While strategy as leverage ensures that the maximum distance is reached using the least possible amount of fuel.

In Chapter 8 - Competing to Shape the Future - and Chapter 9 - Building Gateways to the Future - the authors discusses what must be done to turn foresight into reality and outpace competitors on the road to the future. These chapters discuss the risks and possible roads and tools. Chapter 9 provides some more explanation into the now world-famous term "(core) competencies".

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Chapter 10 - Embedding the Core Competence Perspective - builds on this chapter and provides insights into how to build a core competence perspective into a company and their products/services. Once all above tasks are achieved, the organization can move on to the final tasks in managing to Securing the Future (Chapter 11). The main task is to learn faster about future demand than competitors, whereby organizations should use "expenditionary marketing" (prospecting) and global preemption to do this.

The final chapter of the book - Thinking Differently - is a conclusion of this excellent book, just as Chapter 1 was an introduction.

'Competing for the Future' is probably one of the greatest management books of the 1990s (Business Week's Management Book of 1994) and is good to read (simple US-English). It is perhaps not the greatest introduction into management/business administration, but it should give great inspiration to the more experienced workers/managers.

About the Authors:

Professors Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad are experts in the dynamics of the global marketplace and the strategies and structures of companies that thrive in today's volatile environment.

Have you read a good book recently that is topical and useful? If you'd like to share your review, do write in to us. The review should be between 300-400 words.

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