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Profit Patterns: 30 Ways to Anticipate and Profit from Strategic Forces Reshaping Your Business Hardcover – March 16, 1999
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Profit Patterns opens with a series of chaotic paintings by Pablo Picasso. Each piece is increasingly difficult to recognize; the final portrait is little more than a jumble of shapes and colors. But what does Picasso have to do with profitability? By recognizing industry patterns--by seeing the order beneath the surface chaos--managers, investors, and entrepreneurs can prepare for change before it even occurs. And while the Picasso-as-business-strategy metaphor may be a stretch, Slywotzky's theories are fundamentally sound, designed to spot and capitalize upon market trends in an ever-turbulent business world.
Adrian Slywotzky--whose bestselling The Profit Zone explained how profits happen--this time focuses on making sure profits happen. He begins by defining the types of changes common to modern businesses, explaining why polarization is spreading among industries, and emphasizing the importance of mindshare. He then lists the 30 most common patterns that businesses fall into, such as microsegmentation, where "growing customer heterogeneity and increasing customer sophistication change the fundamental nature of the market."
But even if a business is adept at seeing patterns, it's helpless if it can't mobilize its troops in time to capitalize upon pending change. Case studies of successful companies such as Cisco Systems, Nokia, and Dell Computer show how a company can detect industry trends, organize its workforce, and build giant leads over its competition. No wonder Picasso was a good businessman. --Rob McDonald
"Know the Forces Changing Your Business...and How to Profit FROM Them "Microsoft uses the principles found in Value Migration, The Profit Zone, and now, Profit Patterns, to train our personnel in strategic business thinking. These concepts really generate radically different perspectives and increased creativity in planning for the future."--Bob Herbold, Executive Vice President and COO, Microsoft
"Profit Patterns crisply argues for a radically new approach to strategy. Start-ups and established players alike can harness these ideas to drive competitively superior performance."--Alex J. Mandl, Chairman and CEO, Teligent, Inc.
"Profit Patterns looks at the world of business with remarkable clarity. The authors help sort through the chaos of sensory overload and find patterns. They force you outside your comfort zone, but then take you into a structure of innovation. Profit Patterns can move you from complacency to curiosity, from discomfort to deliberation and purposeful action."--Daniel P. Burnham, President and CEO, Raytheon Company
"Here in the Wild West of the Internet, we will read Profit Patterns and remind ourselves . . . 'It's the customer, stupid!'"--Ted Leonsis, President and CEO, AOL Studios
"Once again, Adrian Slywotzky has struck gold. With Profit Patterns, he builds on his breakthrough thinking in Value Migration and The Profit Zone, which we have incorporated into our strategic planning process. Slywotzky has inspired us to take a fresh look at the way we do business, and has helped us sharpen our focus on delighting customers and creating value for Honeywell shareowners."--Michael R. Bonsignore, Chairman and CEO, Honeywell, Inc.
"Profit Patterns offers a powerful framework for making sense out of a complex and changing business landscape. I hope our managers read it and our competitors don't."--John W. Madigan, Chairman, President, and CEO, Tribune Company
"In consumer financial services, as in so many industries today, the sources of profit are shifting. Banks no longer compete exclusively with banks, as consumers view them as part of a portfolio of financing, cash management, and investing options. In this landscape, anticipating and capturing future sources of value are essential. The insights and examples in Profit Patterns will help management teams to see those opportunities and to make bold and decisive bets with both creativity and confidence."--Donald L. Boudreau, Vice Chairman, The Chase Manhattan Bank
"Success in today's marketplace requires not just anticipating change, but identifying patterns and strategies that move us ahead of change. Adrian Slywotzky and his Mercer colleagues provide an insightful look into that and other dynamics of profitability for the new millennium."--John Alden, Vice Chairman, UPS
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My main problem with the book is that a catalogue of existing profit patterns has nothing to do with innovation. Sure there might still be opportunity to apply these patterns in your business. Sometimes knowledge travels slowly. However, in the future new value will be created also by new profit patterns. Still this book is a great start if you want to understand patterns (ie business models).
So the book is worth four stars, but given that it is 15 years old it is slightly dated so I would not recommended it to any larger managerial audience. However, if you are more of a thinking (in business or academia), I would recommend the book. Three stars
The premise of Profit Patterns by Adrian J. Slywotzky and David J. Morrison is that we learn from experience by studying patterns. Good managers are skilled at strategic pattern recognition and see the whole picture. Industries are reshaped by patterns, which may build slowly or move rapidly, and the ability to recognize and capitalize on these patterns allows an organization to create strategies that lead to sustained value and profitability. In his article titled "Crafting Strategy", Henry Mintzberg, another well known author on the subject of business strategy, indicates that a "key to managing strategy is the ability to detect emerging patterns and help them take shape. The job of the manager is not just to preconceive specific strategies but also to recognize their emergence."
Part I of the book is titled 'The New Game of Business' and describes the changes occurring in business which call for a new skill set. These changes are called Getting It, Polarization and Mindshare. Getting It refers to the ability of managers to become masters of pattern recognition. Instead of seeing chaos, these managers see the strategic pattern unfolding within the complexity, and discover the pattern behind it all. In short, they "get it". Polarization is the result of early recognition and exploitation of patterns in that the company that "got it" first realizes great momentum, its market value explodes and value is no longer proportional; it has polarized. Many examples are given such as Cisco vs. Bay Networks, Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi, and Nike vs. Reebok. Polarization means "winner takes all", and is spreading to other industries. The focus of competition in more and more industries is competition for mindshare, and is crafted as a three-part strategy: 1) mindshare with customers, 2) mindshare with investors and 3) mindshare with talent. Getting It, Polarization and Mindshare are critical skills in the war for dominance in an industry.
Part II of Profit Patterns describes thirty patterns that have affected business designs over the last two decades. The patterns are organized into the following categories:
o Mega - No Profit, Back to Profit, Convergence, Collapse of the Middle, De Factor Standard, Technology Shifts the Board
o Value Chain - Deintegration, Value Chain Squeeze, Strengthening the Weak Link, Reintegration
o Customer - Profit Shift, Microsegmentation, Power Shift, Redefinition
o Channel - Multiplication, Channel Concentration, Compression/ Disintermediation, Reintermediation
o Product - Product to Brand, Product to Blockbuster, Product to Profit Multiplier, Product to Pyramid, Product to Solution
o Knowledge - Product to Customer Knowledge, Operations to Knowledge, Knowledge to Product
o Organizational - Skill Shift, Pyramid to Network, Cornerstoning, Conventional to Digital Business Design
Numerous examples are given of the patterns, and case studies of successful companies such as Nokia, Dell, and Cisco Systems show how a company can detect patterns and trends, organize around them and create significant value, even polarization, from these patterns. The case studies, since all are well known companies, are very useful in understanding the patterns and comprehending how they can be applied in real-life business situations. This infrastructure of patterns can be used to organize and correlate the relevant experiences of well known corporations to your own organization. The patterns are equally applicable to large corporations or small-to-midsize companies.
Part III of Profit Patterns is called 'Putting Patterns to Work' and includes chapters on putting the patterns into action (company case studies), accelerated pattern detection, putting the patterns to work in your organization, and a patterns workbook. This is perhaps the most useful section of the book, in that it offers practical advice on applying the pattern thinking theories.
"Profit Patterns" is written in a practical, thorough, no-nonsense style and the theories are backed up with many real-world examples. I will definitely use the workbook section in the future to analyze business patterns and strategies. The authors are prolific, respected writers, and this book will become one of the staples of business literature. My only criticism is that the graphics are crude and unsophisticated and that a more professional approach to the graphics would lend more credibility and clarity to the concepts they illustrate.
In Part III, Slywotsky & Morrison explain HOW "Strategic Anticipation" enables managers to anticipate and respond quickly to patterns as they unfold. Strategic Anticipation helps managers to "move where the value will be." Patterns "hint at the future strategic story of a company or industry, explain the past and describe the present." Those who have not read Profit Patterns and do not plan to do so can only hope is that the same is true of their competitors. But don't bet on it.
Those who share my high regard for this volume are urged to check out Slywotzky's recently published The Upside as well as Ram Charan's Know-How and Richard Ogle's Smart World.