No offense intended. I have several copies of The Art of War -- all given to me by former bosses. Could it be that our current generation of CEOs feel compelled to quote military analogies because they never served in the military?
Conventional military strategy is not the path to victory in the 21st century. And it has lost its effectiveness on the corporate battlefield as well. Head to head competition doesn't build shareholder value -- it ravages it with inconsistent earnings and lower margins.
So what's the alternative? Fortunately, there are several fresh opinions on the subject. I'll start with one and post more ideas over the next couple of weeks:
A strategy guide I refer to often is Blue Ocean Strategy, which turns conventional strategic thinking on its head by offering paths to finding "uncontested market space" where you can build value for customers without getting battered by competitors first. Quite often, creating value is about what you DON'T offer the customer -- why spend time and money to offer customers what they don't want, just because your competitors do?
Thoughts on the software industry (my own industry): application software is well-known for piling on more and more features in each release, but not building significant value as a result. I use PowerPoint daily -- but 85% of the time I use features from release 3.0 (which was released over 10 years ago!). Are more features adding more value, or more frustration? I resent the extra space the new version takes up on my laptop.
Perhaps less really is more. Or perhaps it's all about listening to the customer. Which is what we should all be doing in the first place.