Richard Rumelt, a professor of strategy at
UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, was researching strategy in the
global electronics industry. He interviewed 20 to 30
executives, CEOs, and
division managers and asked fairly simple questions. Which company was the
leader in their market? How did that company become the leader? What’s their
own company’s strategy?
3 Strategies of Market Leaders
Rumelt saw an interesting pattern. "Most executives easily explained how
became market leaders: some sort of window of
opportunity opened, and the leader was the company that
successfully jump through that window. Not exactly the first mover but
the first to get it right."8
But when Rumelt asked these same executives about their own strategies, he
heard "a lot about doorknob polishing. They were doing
360-degree feedback, forming alliances,
outsourcing, cutting costs, and so on. None of them
even mentioned taking a good position quickly when the industry changes."
In 1998 Rumelt had also the chance to talk with Steve Jobs after he’d come
back and turned Apple around. Rumelt asked Jobs, "What are you trying to do?
What’s the longer-term strategy?"
Jobs just smiled and said, “I am going to wait for the next big thing."