Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rita McGrath's career assessment

My book post on s+b blogs this week offers an assessment for business people who are seeking to bolster career security:

Can Your Career Survive Transient Competitive Advantage?

Rita Gunther McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School, has devoted her 20-year-long academic career to sussing out how companies can successfully respond to a global economy characterized by uncertainty, fast-paced change, and increasing competitive pressure. She wrote three books, with Wharton’s Ian MacMillan, which explored how to wring out growth in such an environment. In June, her latest book, The End of Competitive Advantage: How To Keep Your Strategy Moving As Fast As Your Business (Harvard Business Review Press), was released.

In it, McGrath steps squarely into the ring of strategy. “Strategy is stuck” is her first jab, and then she steps in with the body blows—arguing that sustainable competitive advantage, the holy grail of strategic concepts and frameworks put forth by such luminaries as Michael Porter and by Gary Hamel and the late C.K. Prahalad is no longer a realistic goal. Her knockout punch: Increasingly, across many markets, competitive advantage is transient and conventional business strategy isn’t prepared to handle it.

The End of Competitive Advantage explores the ramifications of this transience on corporate strategy, and how companies can manage it. At the risk of oversimplification, her core recommendation is to discover new businesses, milk them, and when the time is right, get out of them faster than everyone else. But toward the end, McGrath slipped in something that you rarely see in business strategy books—a chapter on the effect of transient competitive advantage on us, the toilers in the corporate fields, and our careers.

If our employers begin rejiggering their businesses’ portfolios at a faster pace, our jobs are going to get rejiggered more often too. And if that starts to happen, are you ready? McGrath offers the following 10 yes-or-no scenarios to help you figure that the rest here

No comments: