October 11, 2004
Excerpts: Hardball - Part I
Hardball: Are You Playing to Play or Playing to Win? by George Stalk and Rob Lachenauer Harvard Business School Press - October 2004 192 Pages - ISBN 1591391679 Summary: Great companies stumble and fall when they lose it. Highfliers crash when a competitor notices they dont have it. Start-ups shut down if they cant develop it. It is a strategy so powerful and an execution-driven mind-set so relentless that companies use it to gain more that just competitive advantage-they achieve an industry dominance that is virtually unassailable and that competitors often try to explain away as unfair. In their hardball manifesto, author George Stalk and Rob Lachenauer show how hardball competitors can build or maintain an enviable competitive edge by pursuing more of the class hardball strategies: unleash massive and overwhelming force, exploit anomalies, devastate profit sanctuaries, raise competitor costs, and break compromises. Based on twenty-five years of experience advising and observing a range of companies, the authors argue that hardball competitors can gain extreme competitive advantage-neutralizing, marginalizing, or even destroying-without violating their contracts with customers or employees, and without breaking the rules. A clear-eyed paen to the time timeless strategies that have driven the worlds winning companies, Hardball redefines and reinterprets them meaning of competition for a new generation of business players. George Stalk is a Director at The Boston Consulting Group and the author of Competing Against Time, the classic work on time-based competition. Rob Lachenauer is CEO of GEO2 Technologies.