The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business by Rita Gunther McGrath is the most relevant business book of the decade. Author Rita McGrath single-handedly slays the antiquated concept of “sustainable competitive advantage”, replacing it with a new, more realistic concept of “transient competitive advantage”. She skillfully illustrates why all business leaders need a new set of assumptions about how today’s world works, and presents a great playbook for businesses both large and small to compete and win.
A sustainable competitive advantage is defined as “A long-term competitive advantage that is not easily duplicable or surpassable by competitors”. When you think “sustainable competitive advantage”, you should be thinking Kodak, Blockbuster, Circuit City, and Sears.
At the core of the transient competitive advantage concept is focusing on seeking the opportunities that are created by the changing needs of the business’s clients or customers. It means constant investment in innovation to identify new opportunities. It means disengaging with exhausted opportunities before they become a drain on organizational assets. It means being vigilant about awareness of emerging technology, as well as the ever changing consumer wants, needs, and tastes.
Additionally, McGrath points out that the pace of change makes it more difficult for larger organizations to remain nimble. This creates a greater competitive advantage to smaller companies that can more easily reconfigure and refocus to meet increasingly rapidly shifting markets. Five out of five stars. A must read for any business strategist or marketer.