1.0 Executive Summary
The goals of achieving competitiveness and earning above-average returns are challenging, not only for regional firms such as Moss Adams, but also for those as small as a local computer retail outlet or dry cleaner.
The challenges are substantial in the dynamic competitive landscape. Evidence the rapid changes experience by Cisco Systems. A "strong and well-thought-out-strategy" was regarded as the most important factor to make a firm the most respected in the future. Maximizing customer satisfaction and loyalty, business leadership and quality products and services, and concern for consistent profits followed this factor. These rankings are consistent with the view that no matter how good a product or services is, the firm must select the "right" strategy and then implement it effectively. In 2003 survey of the top 100 growth companies Business Week noted that the firms thrive in a tough economy because of their risk taking (e.g.
innovation) and use of smart strategies.
Suggesting strategic management's challenged. Andrew Grove, Intel's former CEO, observed that only paranoid companies survive and succeed. Firms must continuously evaluate their environments and decide on the appropriate strategy. Strategy is an integrated and coordinated set of commitments and actions designed to exploit core competencies and gain a competitive advantage. By choosing a strategy, a firm decides to pursue one course of action over others. The firm's executives are thus setting priorities for the firm's competitive actions. Strategies are organic in that they must be adapted over time as the external environment and the firm's resource port folio change. (Strategic Management, 6th edition, page 7-9)
The fundamental nature of competition in many of the world's industries is changing. The pace of this change is relentless and is increasing. Even determining the boundaries of an industry has become challenging. Consider, for example, how...