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Originally published in 1982, this classic guide to the inner workings of the strategic thinking process is now available in trade paperback. In this remarkably topical book, Ohmae offers provocative insights into the ways that the Japanese think strategically and focuses on helping western business people free up their creative power to improve the odds of creating winning strategic concepts.
Posted May 19, 2004
This book, first published in Japan in 1975, is a somewhat dated classic, since the first edition appeared at the high water mark of Japanese competitiveness. Japan¿s economic doldrums since 1990 probably ensure that few business people will emulate it now. In a way, the fact that the bloom is off Japan¿s chrysanthemum makes this book more useful and relevant than it was a quarter-century ago. Now that people aren¿t starry-eyed about Japan, it¿s possible to sort through the recommendations, take them with a grain of salt and find their deeper usefulness. The author is a famous McKinsey consultant, so the book is packed with charts and jargon. Ignore the jargon, the obsolete observations about how U.S. companies organize themselves and the anachronisms about Soviet-style central planning, now a relic. Focus instead on the examples and asides. We also note that this is a must-read for anyone working in Japan or competing against Japanese companies, if only because so many Japanese managers give it to their new hires as part of their training programs.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 23, 2001
Professor Ohmae has created one of the most balanced and useful perspectives ever in this outstanding book on business strategy. Anyone who wants to improve their strategy would do well to read and apply the lessons in The Mind of the Strategist. I have over 30 years of experience with strategic thinking as a consultant and planner. I constantly find that people in the same organization have totally different concepts of what strategy is all about. Each perspective tends to be either too focused in one area (like competition), or incomplete in some aspects (like ignoring the effect of compensation to focus strategic intent). As a result, people 'logically' arrive at some pretty bad strategic conclusions. Typically, this involves a strategy that the organization cannot execute well or which the competitors will quickly negate. What I like about this simple book is that it nicely summarizes the case for a balanced perspective involving your customers, competitors and your own company. Although most American companies will believe that they already do this, the American approach is usually much more superficial and incomplete than the Japanese one. For example, if a Japanese company wants to add a new product, the evaluation looks heavily at how well the customer will be able to use the product and how effectively the company will be able to provide it in the context of probable competitive offerings. An American analysis will feature financial analysis of a forecast that is often based on little more than spreadsheet doodling. The development of the Sony PlayStation as described in Revolutionaries at Sony will help you see this point. The weakness of the Japanese model is that it typically looks too little at the business environment (notice how often Japanese companies buy American businesses and properties at the top of the market for inflated prices), and are relatively insensitive to financial implications. In fast moving technology markets, the Japanese consensus-building process also tends to slow down time to market. That is what makes the Sony success mentioned above so interesting. Clearly, there is no perfect model for strategic thinking that fits all situations. A major weakness of many efforts is to assume that the future can be precisely forecast. That is patently wrong. Typically, the relative importance of the elements considered needs to be adjusted to fit the circumstnace. That seems to be an art rather than a science at this point. You may enjoy The Art of the Long View on this point. Although this book has its limitations (as suggested above), it is a valuable perspective on strategy thinking that will be helpful to most American business people if they think about the concepts in a more thorough way. To balance the perspective here, I suggest you also read Profit Patterns to get a sense of how surrounding circumstances play a role in profitability. Good thinking! May this book help you overcome any stalled thinking you have about not doing your home work in thinking about outperforming competitors to provide benefits that matter a lot to customers. May you enjWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 25, 2008
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