“Herramientas Estratégicas para un mundo Cambiante”

Strategy Tools for a Shifting Landscape
“Herramientas Estratégicas para un mundo Cambiante”
Michael G. Jacobides, Harvard Business Review, Enero-Febrero 2010

It’s time to reinvent the way companies develop strategy.
If you were asked to pick the defining characteristic of today’s business environment, you would surely point to its turbulence—unprecedented, unstoppable, and, apparently, unlikely to go away. Globalization, technological innovation, regulatory restructuring, demographic shifts, and environmental pressures have all conspired to continually redraw the competitive landscape. Consequently, the nature of most industries is changing quickly, and companies are seeing their rivals, suppliers, and customers transform at breathtaking speed.
Everyone notices these changes, but little is being done to help companies cope with them. Traditional strategy tools carefully organize data about the competitive landscape, but they create static categories and visual representations. For instance, the frameworks used by industry analysis (the five forces and maps) and the tools of blue ocean thinking (value maps and comparative value curves) help managers better understand the environment in which they operate. However, these devices reduce complexity by creating stationary maps and projecting the landscape onto two-dimensional graphs—approaches that offer reliable guidance only when the environment isn’t changing rapidly. Moreover, the tools presume that an industry is well defined and that organizations know exactly who their competitors, suppliers, and customers are. They hold constant the very parameters that are up in the air.
Some frameworks compare the relative value of companies’ resources without accounting for the value generated by newcomers that rewrite the rules. Recall how Microsoft and Intel transformed the computer business in the 1990s, relegating hardware makers such as IBM and Apple to the sidelines, and consider how Google is doing the same in mobile communications, hurting handset makers like Samsung and service providers such as Orange.
Most strategy frameworks are simplifying devices. When companies must compete by reshaping sectors—as they increasingly have to today—the old tools offer little insight because they implicitly or explicitly assume that industry boundaries remain constant. That can be misleading for two reasons. One, organizations may choose the wrong path through a changing landscape. For instance, many newspapers and magazines reacted to the internet’s advent by offering their content free of charge, which crippled their ability to charge for it later. Two, companies can miss lucrative opportunities, as Kodak did by fighting changes in photography instead of acknowledging the shifts in the business and leveraging its strengths differently.
Four Indications That You May Be Losing the Plot
The few tools that do help managers tackle change deliver mixed results—at best. Game theory and war games help a company predict the implications of its actions, so it can try to preserve its competitive position. However, these highly mathematical models, too, assume that industries, rivals, and incentives are constants, and so they reflect competitive interaction only within well-defined boundaries. Scenario planning does help executives visualize hypothetical futures. But, again, the emphasis is on generating static landscapes: still pictures of the future. Academics and executives spend so much time studying the landscape, like botanists who carefully classify and categorize, that they forget the importance of understanding evolutionary dynamics before creating strategy

Resumen en español:

Reinvente la forma de desarrollar sus estrategias al redactar un guión que describa los personajes, roles y tramas en su negocio. Un proceso de tres pasos puede ayudarle a comenzar esta tarea.
Hay evidencia creciente de que nuestras herramientas estratégicas están desactualizadas.

La mayoría de las herramientas suponen equivocadamente que los actores establecidos son más importantes que las empresas nuevas; que las corporaciones pueden identificar fácilmente a sus rivales, proveedores y clientes; y que las compañías pueden competir sólo cuando cambian lo que hacen. En lugar de utilizar marcos estáticos tales como el análisis de sector y el pensamiento del océano azul, una organización debería escribir un guión que detalle todos los cambios en un sector y los roles de ella y otros jugadores.

Las palabras son más poderosas que los números porque permiten que una compañía se enfoque en la lógica subyacente al cambio, actualice constantemente su estrategia y esté atenta a la posibilidad de cambiar su negocio.

Las compañías desarrollan guiones al representar las tramas y subtramas a nivel central de la corporación y en cada unidad de negocios. Al escribir y reescribir los guiones, las organizaciones pueden capturar la imaginación de sus empleados porque las personas comprenden mejor las palabras que los números, mapas y tablas.

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