Preface to the Second Edition

The need for clarity and structure in strategic thinking is greater than ever. Since publication of the first edition of this book, companies are facing ever greater challenges in a global economy marked by widespread uncertainty. New worries triggered by the Euro crisis have driven business confidence levels to unprecedented depths. Indeed, there is no end to the recession in sight as the threat of a “triple dip” recession in the foreseeable future appears ever more probable.3 More than ever, firms are seeking new ways to approach their strategy; if not to achieve strategic growth, then to counter threats with more effective defensive strategies. Strategy, the way we know it, appears to have arrived at an evolutionary crossroads. The current economic crisis has introduced several important changes to the way in which we think about strategy.

The first has to do with our fundamental understanding of competitiveness, the firm's “right to win”. This has been defined as the ability of the firm to engage in its competitive markets with a better-than-average chance of achieving success – not just in the short term, but consistently. This is being challenged as never before.4

Second, the notion of “sustainable” competitive advantage, while still conceptually interesting, is being seriously challenged in the practice field. Traditionally, the achievement of “sustainable” advantage has been the Holy Grail in strategy. Increasingly, however, firms are finding ...

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