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The Art of Business - Mark McNeily {Read 5/03}

Whew, I finally read this book after it collected dust on my shelf for over 2 years!... perhaps I should have read it earlier? In any case... here are the notes...

6 main principles:

  1. Win without fighting
    • Define your markets and commit to dominance!
    • Leave the market intact - don't destroy your market in trying to win it over
    • Prioritize markets and determine competitor focus (who are you going to attack)
  2. Avoid strength
    • Strike where they least expect it (your competitors)
    • Attacking weaknesses leverages your strengths (duhhh)
    • Develop a list of competitor weaknesses and develop several attack strategies against each
  3. Deception and foreknowledge
    • Maximize the power of market information
    • Develop intel that identifies competitors financials, employees, executives, strategies, costs, everything!
    • What are they capable of?
    • What is their current attack strategy?
    • Executive profiles - where did they graduate from? What experience do they have?
    • Launch small, direct assaults on minor product categories to see how they respond
    • Know yourself!
      • Know your market and market terrain
      • Make sure your competitor is UNABLE to know you!
  4. Speed and preparation
    • The essence of war!
    • Speed is a substitute for resources, it shocks competitors
    • Allows you to build some momentum
    • Reinforce success - starve failure!
    • Improve your info/decision/action cycle - shorten executive decision making time and increase the tempo of attacks
    • Colin Powell - when you have 60% of the info you need, take action!
    • Invulerability lies in defense, victory lies in the attack
    • Utilize wargaming to plan counter moves
  5. Shape your opponent
    • Gain hold of strategic positions in the maket by using technology, key buyers & distribution
    • Bait them into competitive mistakes
    • Sever their alliances and build your own
    • Feign attack to where it is expected buy fully attack in another area
    • Use bait to shape them - withdraw from a market b/c you want another market and let them focus on winning the one you left
    • Ally w/a competitor for that small market to distract them!
    • Hold strategic positions in key markets - own key technology or patents, niche customers, retailer shelf space, board seat on industry associations
    • Always leave an easy way out once you have won - let them exit gracefully
  6. Character based leadership
    • Build character, not just image - wisdom, courage, discipline, sincerity, confidence
    • Lead with actions - talk is cheap
    • Share employees trials - not just triumphs
    • Good commanders are both loved and feared!
    • Do not tolerate confusion - assign clearly defined missions
    • Strategy should drive the organization!