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July 8, 2008

News & Opinion: GLOBALITY Blog #1: Your Competitors May Not Be Who You Think They Are

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 1:36 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

As I mentioned yesterday, for the next three days the three co-authors of GLOBALITY: Competing with Everyone From Everywhere for Everything will be hosting our blog and taking your questions. Today, we welcome Hal Sirkin, a senior partner at The Boston Consulting Group's Chicago office and co-author of PAYBACK: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation.
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Your Competitors May Not Be Who You Think They Are
The subtitle of our new book GLOBALITY: Competing with Everyone From Everywhere for Everything pretty succinctly describes what this new business era is going to be like. Today, I'm going to describe who the Everyone is. Tomorrow my co-author Arindam Bhattacharya will define the Everywhere and on Thursday Jim Hemerling will get into the Everything.
So who's everyone? In the "old days" of globalization, the big Western companies pretty much knew who their competition was going to be: other companies that looked a lot like them. The "incumbents," we call them. GE, Siemens, Toyota, etc. But while the multinationals were outsourcing their production in the developing countries, something unexpected happened. Their suppliers and vendors, little companies in China and India and Brazil and elsewhere, watched carefully and learned well.
Those companies grew up and became "global challengers." Goodbaby of China, which didn't exist twenty years ago, sells 80 percent of children's strollers in China, and has 28 percent of the stroller market in the U.S. Tata Group of India recently bought Land Rover and Jaguar. Embraer of Brazil is the world leader in regional jets under 120 seats.
So the message for Western companies is that your toughest competitor could be anyone. A start-up in Argentina. A state-owned monolith in China. A network of non-profit councils in India. An entrepreneur in Turkey. There's a very good chance they won't look at all like you. Which is why you may not see them coming.
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Stay tuned. Tomorrow, GLOBALITY co-author Arindam Bhattacharya will be stopping by.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.