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Peripheral Vision: Detecting the Weak Signals That Will Make or Break Your Company Hardcover – May 1, 2006

4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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About the Author

George S. Day is the Geoffrey T. Boisi Professor, Professor of Marketing, and Co-director of the Mack Centre for Technological Innovation at The Wharton School. Paul J.H. Schoemaker is Research Director of Wharton's Mack Centre for Technological Innovation and the founder and Chairman of Decision Strategies International, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422101541
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422101544
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #997,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Most people have "selective vision" in that they tend to see what they expect to see, what they hope to see, etc. In this book, George S. Day and Paul J.H. Schoemaker examine the common causes and frequent consequences of what they call a "vigilance gap": the inability of both individuals and organizations to recognize and then act upon "weak signals from the periphery" before it is too late. Day and Schoemaker recommend a series of seven steps to bridge this gap. In fact, the objective is not to "bridge" it but, rather, to minimize it. How? Knowing where to look, how to look, what the data mean, how to explore more closely, what to do with insights and how to do it, how to develop/establish and then sustain vigilance, and finally, how to set an appropriate agenda, mobilize resources, and then effectively apply them. Obviously, these are not head-snapping insights nor do Day and Schoemaker make any such claim for them. The great value of this book is derived from how rigorously and how eloquently they explain each of the seven "steps." They offer dozens of specific, real-world examples.

In this context, I am reminded of one of Peter Drucker's insights in an article he wrote for Harvard Business Review which appeared in 1963: "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all." And even if sufficient knowledge has been obtained and those who possess it know what to do and how to do it, that by no means guarantees that effective action will be taken. This is one of the key points which Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton make in The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action. Of special interest to me is the "Strategic Eye Exam" provided by Day and Schoemaker in Appendix A.
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Format: Hardcover
Peripheral Vision: Detecting the Weak Signals That Will Make or Break Your Company
By George Day & Paul Schoemaker

`Peripheral Vision' has quite a catchy title. For all intents & purposes, it is a very fascinating book, filled with superb insights.

From my perspective, `Peripheral Vision' rides on a much larger issue that has strategic ramifications for businesses as well as for individuals in today's chaotic world. Mercer Management Consulting calls it `Strategic Anticipation' & they define it as `the ability to get it, to spot an emergent opportunity & chart a path there before the competition does.' In fact, one of their VPs, Adrian Slywotzky, has even written a book about it in the late 90's. It's called `Profit Patterns' which provides a powerful discipline to see order beneath the chaos, based on the company's ground-breaking research into over 200 companies in 40 industries. They have identified some thirty patterns.

I call it anticipatory prowess.

The two authors of `Peripheral Vision' come with excellent credentials. George Day wrote `Market Driven Organisation' & `Market Driven Strategy'. Paul Schoemaker wrote `Profting from Uncertainty' & `Winning Decisions.' The four books have been my personal favourites.

I must compliment the two authors for coming up with a seven stage systemic process model in `Peripheral Vision.' It provides practical tools & strategies for building a vigilant organization that is readily attuned to external environmental changes. The `Strategic Eye Exam', which has been well thought of, is a real gem. The same model & tools can also apply to the individual.
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Format: Hardcover
The authors have picked one of the key aspects of a company's strategy toolkit. Strategic or market planning should give a company the ability to respond to changes in the market (e.g. customers, competition and technology). But my actual experience in strategy consulting and then marketing strategy for a large corporation has been somewhat different. Several times companies' response to analyzing market changes starts by looking out but quickly turns more and more internal. The result is usually "more of the same" strategy with some incremental refinements - of course all this is backed by impressive financial and other quantitative analysis. 2 things become a casualty in such a process - the willingness to strain outside of comfort zones and "see" what is happening. And the ability to tap your own employees (and customers and other stakeholders) who are the closest to the change and may have a good feel for what's coming! In my view marketing/product/strategy functions should develop a joint mechanism to see, evaluate and act upon the key developments in their expanse of the market.

That is exactly what this book provides. The book is easy to read and structured well, essentially taking the reader through a clear 7 step process on how to anticipate and respond to changes. The Appendix at the end that details the "Strategic Eye Exam" serves as a useful starting questionnaire.

The book will be a very good read for those who believe that the world around them changes quickly and want to develop a BU or company wide process to learn, evaluate and act on those changes, including the ability to discard the red herrings.

Highly recommended!
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