hardball1.jpg      Hardball:   5 Strategies for Trouncing the Competition

The manifesto:

  • Focus relentlessly on competitive advantage
    i.e.: Wal-Mart and its logistics (network of “cross-docking” warehouses)
  • Strive for “extreme” competitive advantage
    i.e.: Toyota’s production system
  • Avoid attacking directly
    i.e.: Southwest and its choice of letting the hubs to the major airlines
  • Exploit people’s will to win
    i.e.: Southwest had the mantra: “we came, we saw, we kicked tail”, hardball players must be action-oriented, to avoid complacency, you need to foster a sense of urgency
  • Know the caution zone
    Guidelines: does it break any law? Is the action good for customers? Will competitors be directly hurt by it? Will the action touch a nerve in special-interest groups?

The strategy:

  • Desperate rival’s profit sanctuaries
    Parts of a business where a company makes the most money
    Knowledge is key
  • Plagiarize with pride
    Hardball plagiarism involves much more than appropriating a good idea. You have to improve on it.
  • Deceive the competition
  • Unleash massive and overwhelming force
  • Raise the competitor’s costs
    If you have a superior understanding of your costs, you can use pricing to maneuver your competitors into believing that they are making profitable moves

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This post is based on the article Hard Ball, written by George Stalk, Jr., and Rob Lachenauer, published on the Harvard Business Review