New Article: Getting started with Porter’s Generic Strategies

In 1985, in his book Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, Michael Porter, outlined a set of generic strategies that could be applied to all products or services. Porter called these generic strategies "Cost Leadership" , "Differentiation" and "Focus".

Cost Leadership corresponds to the “no frills” experience, like the low-cost airline carriers, who choose the cost leadership strategy to achieve competitive advantage.

Differentiation, on the other hand, corresponds to the luxury providers, like Rolls Royce or Ferrari or Gucci, Armani or Prada. These companies provide uniquely desirable products or services to their customers.

Focus is all about market segmentation by offering a specialized product or service in a niche market.

  • What are the major differences between strategies?
  • How can you choose the right one for your company?
  • What approach would you follow?
  • Can you choose more than one approach?

Leading Creative Teams

I deal with highly intelligent, motivated and creative individuals on a daily basis. Leading teams of creative individuals is both a privilege and a responsibility. Generally speaking, creative and intelligent individuals are used to question status quo and typically find creative ways around organizational obstacles, so I am constantly reminded of an insightful quote I read in an article in the Harvard Business Review:

Leading teams of creative, intelligent individuals requires an atmosphere where rules and norms are plainly and universally accepted. 

It has been my experience that for leadership to be accepted you have to create an atmosphere where the team members are valued individually, and feel committed with the overall goals. I believe that for rules and norms to be universally accepted, it’s important to communicate and get agreement on shared objectives.

I also think that creative and intelligent people need a fair amount of leeway in how to reach a given objective. However, it’s still up to the leader to set the goals and define the boundaries of the playing field.

Can You Say ‘No’?

Here’s a very interesting article by JD Meier.

I was reading this post and something really caught my attention – avoiding a situation if it’s not right for you. I know that being successful is about playing to your strengths and avoiding situations not suited for you – it requires large amounts of personal energy and the results are never as good.

Lately, I have found myself working on a couple of projects that are not in my field of expertise. Most of the time I felt like a fish out of water. For the most part the projects weren’t exciting to me and I wasn’t that happy with the end results.

Sometimes you really can’t avoid doing something you’re not particularly good at, but as long as it is a conscious choice and not something you get pulled into.

The first step should be to understand what are the things you really enjoy doing and what are the things that just drain your energy. This is an introspection that you should do once in a while just to understand if your priorities have changed or not (people change, interests change, goals change, priorities change).

Once you have this understanding, it’s time to pursue those projects that are aligned with your strengths and avoid those that are not suited for you.

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