Summary of What's Your Competitive Advantage?

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  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


As a business leader, how do you make strategic plans in a constantly changing corporate world? Are your traditional tools for forecasting and comprehensive strategic planning still useful? Management experts Cliff Bowman and Paul Raspin say that the best tactic for realistic strategic planning is simple: Go back to the basics. The authors present “seven competitive strategies,” each to be deployed alone – and, mostly, one at a time, though different divisions may use different strategies. The authors warn against combining or embellishing these tactics. Embed them into your operations, secure reliable feedback and adjust if necessary. The authors base their recommendations on years of research into value creation and on the guiding principles of numerous disciplines, including “complexity science,” respected business theories, proven strategic prescriptions, and instructive case studies. This high-level, practical guidebook will help business leaders gain a competitive edge for their organizations.

About the Authors

Cliff Bowman, PhD, teaches strategic management at the Cranfield School of Management. Paul Raspin, PhD, is the founder and managing director of Stratevolve, a strategy consultancy.



Strategizing for the Future 

The business world is bafflingly complex. Leaders tackle the complicated interaction of evolving variables every day. And businesses themselves are complex systems. These levels of complexity make it impossible to predict what the years ahead may hold, so managing companies and planning for the future is a difficult challenge.

Complexity may render highly detailed, long-term business strategizing pointless, but some broad-brush strategizing is possible. You can select among “seven competitive strategies,” each using specific capabilities to create value for customers. These strategies, whose names form the acronym “salient” are: “specialization, adaptive, low cost, innovation, excellence, no frills” and “targeting.” Each strategy realistically acknowledges the “emergent nature of change” and defines the company’s direction. They are not precise blueprints for the future, but they provide guidance about how to best position your operations for the years to come. 

The Seven Competitive Strategies

The seven ...

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