Porter's Evolved Thinking on Strategy

I came across a really interesting excerpt from an interview with long time strategy hotshot, Michael Porter.  He’s asked for his experience on why organizations get it wrong so much of the time when it comes to strategy.

What strikes me most is the huge amount of wisdom, much of it running counter to common practice, that Porter is able to share in these few sentences.  Ideas like:

  • Competitive advantage results from paying attention to both the supply (value chain) and demand (value proposition) sides of the house.
  • Success comes when you figure out what makes you different from everyone else, not when you try to be like them.
  • Significant barriers can be found both within and outside the organization.  Internally these are things like skewed incentive systems and faulty decision-making processes.  Externally, these are the consultants and “experts” who want to push individual companies to look like their view of what is best-in-class.
  • Short term-ism is death for strategy and creating value.

And, in the category of stuff he’s been saying since the very beginning, Porter emphatically reminds us that 

  1. Many executives don’t even recognize they don’t have a strategy, and
  2. Strategy is as much about what you don’t do