Look at any industry, in any market, and you’ll find the same strategy playing out everywhere. Companies compete with one another in a mindless race to the bottom, matching products and services feature for feature, competing primarily on price. This commoditizes markets and drives down prices and margins. But ultimately, no one wins—not even the consumer--as quality, service and differentiation suffer. We call this senseless strategy “Attrition Competition”, and it is derived from prevailing military strategy, which seeks to overwhelm competitors.
However, there is another way: maneuver strategy.
Maneuver strategy has been used by the military since King Leonidas and Genghis Khan, yet businesses all too often neglect it. In OUTMANEUVER the authors examine how maneuver strategies, based on speed, agility, insight, and innovation win the most in any market at the least possible cost, for companies of any size, in any industry.
- Unlike attrition, maneuver never seeks to attack an incumbent in head-to-head competition. Instead, maneuver uses reconnaissance and insights to identify weaknesses and uses three strategies to attack those vulnerabilities:
- Preemption: taking a valuable, unoccupied space before competitors are aware the space exists.
- Dislocation: attacking an incumbent in a way that forces the opponent to fight with less than its full capabilities and on the attacker’s terms, causing the opponent to vacate part or all of a valuable position.
- Disruption: upsetting an opponent’s detailed scheduling or planning, distracting an opponent from efficient execution, delaying a timely launch, creating confusion or havoc in an opponent’s capabilities.
OUTMANEUVER details a combination of military and business case studies to identify the relevant points of the strategy. Companies such as Zara, Tesla and Netflix have proven successful in the sea of sameness. Military tactics from the Civil War through the wars being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq today are identified to exemplify the strategy as well.
As the pace of change accelerates, as speed and agility become more important than size and strength, as new entrants disrupt existing markets, attrition strategy seems outdated.
OUTMANEUVER details this overlooked methodology; its focus on speed, agility, and innovation is the right strategy for the new emerging markets and companies of any size.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
JEFFREY PHILLIPS leads OVO Innovation, an innovation consulting company in Raleigh, North Carolina. Jeffrey has led strategy and innovation projects in a number of industries including pharmaceutical, high tech, financial services, insurance and medical products. He is the author of three books, including Relentless Innovation, and writes the popular Innovate on Purpose blog.
ALEX VERJOVSKY brings over twenty years’ experience in the consulting and technology sectors as both a consultant and entrepreneur. His most recent company, Castor Fields SAPI, reached over twelve billion dollars in sales. Prior to Castor Fields, Alex founded BioFuel Alternatives, a pioneer in the biodiesel market. Alex is a graduate of Columbia Business School.