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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Many organizations try to be all things to all people, and end up being mediocre or worse on everything. THE DISCIPLINE OF MARKET LEADERS shows that many organizational stalls can be overcome by focusing the enterprise on being better on cost/prices, innovation that customers value, or relationships. This perspective will be very valuable to 90 percent of all organizations.
I hope the authors will go on to publish a sequel that looks at how an organization that is superb in one of these areas learns how to become superb at a second or third of the three areas. That clearly will be the future best practice that outstanding enterprises will have to shoot for.
I am not sure that some organizations are not already good at more than one area of focus: For example, a great investment bank (like say, Goldman Sachs) will have more innovative products than most of its competition in certain areas and will also offer great relationships.
The book does not say very much specifically about how to achieve an outstanding result in any one of the proposed three areas of focus. You'll have to read other books for help there. Direct from Dell is probably good for the price/cost model for most New Economy businesses and Old Economy businesses that are subject to the New Economy. For the rest, Lean Thinking will be helpful. On the subject of relationships, the Harvey Mackey books are good, such as Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty. On innovation, everyone should read The Innovator's Dilemma. Only the Paranoid Survive is also helpful for innovators.
Pick your direction today, and move forward at warp speed!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
In order to become a market leader you must choose what kind of customers you want to serve, and design your operating model to fulfill the chosen customer value, while maintaining appropriate standards in the other two customer values.

According to the authors, there are three kinds of customers, each with its own unique idea of what constitutes value.

· For the first kind of customer, high performance is the most important value of a product or service.

· For the second kind of customer, personalized service is the most important value.

· For the third kind of customer, the overall cost of the product is the most important value.

Market leaders beat out their competition, say the authors, by focusing on one kind of customer and fulfilling their expectations. This means that you should choose one of three operating models:

· Product Leadership: Focused on innovation and performance, product leaders strive to turn invention into breakthrough products.

· Customer Intimacy: Focused on specialized, personal service, these companies become partners with their customers.

· Operational Excellence: Companies with the operational excellence model offer customers the lowest possible cost of a product. These companies focus on their supply and distribution systems, in order to reduce costs to the customer.

There are three steps to choosing which operating model is best for you.

1. Determine how well you are currently delivering the three kinds of value to customers. Use market research to find out which kind of value your customers care about, and how well you compare to your competitors.

2. Make a list of possible options of ways you could change your organization to meet the needs of each kind of customers.

3. Use teams to evaluate what operating systems would need to be put in place to implement these options, and whether you would be able to compete with market leaders once this was done.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This book urges you to adopt one style of competition: low costs and prices, innovation, or relationships. Once you adopt that style, you must outdo all of the competition. That's where most people fall short. Falling short can be a disaster, because someone else will always be beating you at your own game. If you want some good ideas for how to be sure you are years ahead of the competition in whichever style you choose, you should take a look at the 8 step process in The 2,000 Percent Solution. It gives you a good process for making those important changes. The Discipline of Market Leaders is a good read, and you'll enjoy it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Excellent strategy framework for planning new product/service introductions. Three value disciplines are described with good examples. Highly relevant as product/service life cycles get shorter and shorter. Great material for providing focus to those with a broken helm.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I started in retail, I was a believer in being all things to all people. Fortunately I found this book and learned there is a better way to be a success in business. Learning to focus on what you do and who you are will allow you the opportunity to succeed. Lack of focus on who you are causes you to be inefficient whereas discipline of focus will cause you to focus on the needs of your customer and your strengths to meet their needs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Though written over a decade ago, the concept--that a company must choose one "value discipline" to hone its competitive advantage--is elusive in many executive suites today. Consulting to industries across the USA, my associates and I are often astonished at how many strategies are based on an assumption that attempting to be "all things to all people" is a recipe for success. Treacy and Wiersema present a very useful model for strengthening fundamental strategic choice-making. By clearly linking the different organizational requirements for each of the three possible value disciplines, (similar to Michael Porter's generic strategy options of low-cost vs. differentiation), the authors make a compelling case for the benefits of choosing one "discipline" to focus resources on. The concepts still ring true--though it would be useful if there was an updated edition--since some of the organizational implications (i.e., Process, IT, Organizational Skills, Management Skills and Culture) are outdated due to ubiquitous technology adoption at the heart of many companies' operations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
These days far too many companies try to excel at everything and therefore excel at nothing. In this book, the authors propose the theory that successful companies focus on one of the following:

1. Operation Excellence - competing on the lowest total cost
2. Product Leadership - competing on the best product
3. Customer Intimacy - competing on best helping customers

Many good lessons can be learned from the companies highlighted. While the need for focus is made clear, several of the examples appear to show that a company can have a secondary focus (always overruled when it contradicts the primary, but otherwise dominant).

After presenting the disciplines, the authors go on to describe how to choose through a great hypothetical case, and then how all the disciplines are different aspects of serving customers. While that may appear to contradict the main theory, it doesn't because different customers have different preferences, and if a company doesn't excel at one of them, customers will flock to competitors who excel in the area they care most about.

The book is well written with enough humor to keep it lively. For an example, after describing how Nabisco, once a product leadership company, began reducing quality of its Chips Ahoy cookies to reduce cost- "Ahoy Nabisco. Your customers won't need MBAs to taste the difference."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Each year, hundreds if not thousands of business books hit the shelves. Not all fare well over time. Nearly 15 years after first being published, `The Discipline of Market Leaders' holds up nicely.

The premise of the book is straightforward - in order to succeed, companies must effectively deliver their value propositions to the markets they serve. The authors suggest there are three such approaches or `value disciplines' that a company can pursue: operational efficiency, product leadership, or customer intimacy. Most importantly, Treacy and Wiersema make the case that companies must fully commit to one of the three disciplines in order to build and sustain market leadership. Failure to do so (even if a company is proficient at all three) will ultimately result in failure.

Though some of the (formerly) stalwart admirees seem a bit ironic now (Sony, Silicon Graphics) the framework presented is useful for analyzing both the way companies attack their markets and potential avenues of competitive attack. For example, Wal-Mart delivers price leadership (a facet of operational efficiency) by ruthlessly managing costs from their supply chain. Potential competitors needn't bother competing with Wal-Mart on the basis of superior logistics. However, a company might successfully do so by pursuing a customer intimacy strategy with such offerings as personal shoppers and childcare.

Another unmistakeable observation is that `Disciplines...' predates the era of the internet. Despite the absolute transformative impact of the web, the framework still can be useful in making sense of current darlings Google, SalesForce.com, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Treacy and Wiersema are not prescriptive in terms of which discipline a company should pursue, but it does seem that there are some natural pairings. A company that delivers cost containment might itself be most consistent by pursuing a discipline of operational efficiency. A company that delivers a luxury experience might best be served by a path of customer intimacy. And likewise, it seems natural that certain marketing vehicles most closely fit a given value discipline. A company that values operational efficiency might naturally gravitate to efficient vehicles such as PPC and other online marketing avenues. The luxury brand might best be served through a high touch referral marketing program.

In short, `The Discipline of Market Leaders' gets it right - a relatively quick, intuitive read that leaves you armed with a novel approach to both strategy and analysis. Recommended reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Best Marketing book I have ever read, I will keep this book forever. This is a must read for anyone in the marketing field. This book provides great examples along with real life examples.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Authors Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema make it clear that market leading companies all concentrate on creating value for their customers. Then they focus on specific cases from Nike to Johnson & Johnson. No company, including yours, can succeed by trying to be all things to all people. Companies must ascertain the unique value - be it price, quality or problem solving - they can deliver to a specific market. The book proves that comparisons are not odious if they are interesting, and the comparisons it offers are intriguing indeed. Anecdotes and case histories cover companies that are market leaders today - AT&T, Intel, Airborne Express - and companies that used to be market leaders. The authors offer you three choices: lead with low costs, great products or outstanding ability to solve customers' problems. But if you are going to lead, you have to pick a direction and implement a management strategy that supports it, a lesson eased along by the clarity of the writing. We from getAbstract recommend this book to executives who are seeking advice on trumping their markets.
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