Reposition & Reconfigure
Michael Porter (professor at Harvard Business School) noted
“Strategy is making choices; what to do and what not to do”
To Reposition & Reconfigure. This is the ability to be always reflecting on how the firm is operating and on what changes can be made to improve performance, both incrementally and significantly. This capability requires the ability to be questioning and challenging the assumptions about what the firm is doing and why. Asking if the practices, assets and activities are still relevant, are they still relevant for the firm to conduct itself or better done by others, if inside the firm how can they be changed and performance improved? A critical part of this capability is the discipline and courage to stop doing what has been working well previously at a different time. The discipline to ensure complexity doesn't escalate as new actions and initiatives are embraced.
Three key mechanisms can significantly enhance the capability to Reposition & Reconfigure.
- Define new market-spaces. Blue oceans are described as market-spaces where competitors are not present, where a company can chart its own course and configure its offer and activities as it sees fit. However, sailing in uncharted waters of a blue ocean can be daunting for managers, requiring skills of exploration rather than exploitation. This may require honing skills of managing the environment (operations, supply chain and channel partners), an increased sensitivity to feedback and ability to adjust and the expectation that unforeseen risks and competitors may unexpectedly emerge.
- Glide, don’t jump. Large corporations can leverage their scale to reduce risk whilst facilitating the smooth adaptation of their scope of activities and portfolio of offerings. They can venture into new market-spaces in a competitively substantial manner, without destabilising or compromising activities of the core. Similarly, they can sustain trailing positions as they reduce focus in other areas, harvesting value and maintaining strategic flexibility rather than abruptly exiting which may create a platform for emergent competitors.
- Choiceful duplication. In dynamic unstable contexts, binary choices can increase exposure to risk. If the global supply chain is designed to optimise efficiency with large orders placed in overseas suppliers then it becomes vulnerable to international trade disputes, supplier production interruptions, currency fluctuation, etc. Deliberate choices of duplication can help to mitigate risk through providing flexibility. For example, maintaining competing ranges of products under different brands, at different price points mitigates risk should the market swing either towards premium or to economy product preferences.
Accelerating Outcomes AND Enhancing Capabilities.