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If You're in a Dogfight, Become a Cat!

Strategies for Long-Term Growth

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Businesses often find themselves trapped in a competitive dogfight, scratching and clawing for market share with products consumers view as largely undifferentiated. Conventional wisdom suggests that dogfights are to be expected as marketplaces mature, giving rise to the notion that there are "bad" industries where it is unlikely that any company can succeed.

But there are notable exceptions in which enlightened executives have changed the rules to grasp the holy grail of business: long-term profitable growth. Rather than joining the dogfights raging within their industry, companies such as Apple, FedEx, and Starbucks have chosen to become metaphorical cats, continuously renewing their distinctive strategies to compete on their own terms.

In If You're in a Dogfight, Become a Cat, Leonard Sherman draws on four decades of experience in management consulting, venture capital, and teaching business strategy at Columbia Business School to share practical advice on two of the most vexing issues facing business executives: why is it so hard to achieve long-term profitable growth, and what can companies do to break away from the pack?

Sherman takes the reader on a provocative journey through the building blocks of business strategy by challenging conventional wisdom on a number of questions that will redefine management best practices:

• What should be the overarching purpose of your business?• Do you really know what your strategy is?• Is there such a thing as a bad industry?• Where do great ideas come from and how do I find them?• What makes products meaningfully different?• What makes and breaks great brands?• How and when should I disrupt my own company?• What are the imperatives to achieving long-term profitable growth?

Filled with dozens of illustrative examples of inspiring successes and dispiriting falls from grace, this book provides deep insights on how to become the cat in a dogfight, whether you are a CEO, mid-level manager, aspiring business school student, or curious observer interested in achieving sustained profitable growth.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 14, 2016 – A cutesy title isn't enough to differentiate a familiar take on gaining the competitive advantage in this strategy guide from Sherman, who boasts over three decades of experience in management consulting. Now a teacher at Columbia Business School, Sherman reports discovering over the course of his career that most companies simply can't sustain success; one study found that, over the last 50 years, only 13% of Fortune 100 companies showed as much as 2% real revenue growth annually from one decade to another. Here, he seeks to explain how businesses can create and maintain lasting growth. He distinguishes between "dogfights," in which strength pays off in the short term but the fighters eventually get weary, and "catfights," which use innovation. He urges readers to pick the latter, further suggesting taking up the three "strategic imperatives" of continuous innovation, meaningful product differentiation, and business alignment. Insisting there are no unwinnable industries, Sherman cites those companies that beat the odds and generate long-term profitable growth, including Netflix, Apple, Yellow Tail Wine, and Costco. The case studies are interesting, and M.B.A. students looking to grasp the subject may find this useful, but the titular metaphor isn't enough to help this one stand out from the pack.
If You're in a Dogfight, Become a Cat!
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  • $28.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Business & Personal Finance
  • Published: Jan 10, 2017
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Seller: Perseus Books, LLC
  • Print Length: 360 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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