Hardball: Are You Playing to Play or Playing to Win?

George Stalk & Rob Lachenauer



Classic Strategies for Unapologetic Winners Great companies stumble and fall when they lose it. Highfliers crash when a competitor notices they don't have it. Start-ups shut down if they can't develop it. "It" is a strategy so powerful and an execution-driven mind-set so relentless that companies use it to gain more than just competitive advantage-- they achieve an industry dominance that is virtually unassailable and that competitors often try to explain away as unfair. In their "hardball manifesto," authors George Stalk and Rob Lachenauer of the leading strategy consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group show how hardball competitors can build or maintain an enviable competitive edge by pursuing one or more of the classic "hardball strategies": unleash massive and overwhelming force, exploit anomalies, devastate profit sanctuaries, raise competitors' costs, and break compromises. Based on twenty-five years of experience advising and observing a range of companies, the authors argue that hardball competitors can gain extreme competitive advantage--neutralizing, marginalizing, or even destroying competitors-- without violating their contracts with customers or employees, and without breaking the rules. A clear-eyed paean to the timeless strategies that have driven the world's winning companies, Hardball redefines and reinterprets the meaning of competition for a new generation of business players.

What will you learn from this book

  1. Market Dominance: The authors emphasize the importance of playing hardball in business to achieve market dominance rather than merely participating in the market.

  2. Strategic Positioning: The book explores the significance of strategic positioning, encouraging companies to carefully choose and dominate a specific market niche.

  3. Competitive Advantage: Stalk and Lachenauer discuss the need for companies to build and sustain a competitive advantage over their rivals.

  4. Operational Excellence: The authors stress the importance of operational excellence in achieving a competitive edge, including efficiency, cost control, and innovation.

  5. Customer Focus: Hardball strategies involve understanding and catering to the needs and preferences of customers to build loyalty and market share.

  6. Aggressive Expansion: The book advocates for aggressive expansion strategies, including mergers and acquisitions, to rapidly gain market share and increase competitiveness.

  7. Innovation and Adaptation: Companies are encouraged to continually innovate and adapt to changing market conditions to stay ahead of the competition.

  8. Talent Management: Stalk and Lachenauer discuss the critical role of talent management in building a competitive advantage, emphasizing the importance of recruiting and retaining top talent.

  9. Risk Management: Hardball strategies involve calculated risk-taking, with an understanding that avoiding risks altogether can lead to missed opportunities.

  10. Execution Excellence: Successful implementation of strategies is crucial, and the book underscores the significance of flawless execution in achieving business goals.

Language English
ISBN-10 1591391679
ISBN-13 9781591391678
No of pages 175
Font Size Medium
Book Publisher Harvard Business Review Press
Published Date 01 Jan 2004

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