Strategic Management:

Strategies of Market Leaders

What Is Your Long-Term Strategy?

Steve Jobs vs. Others


"I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do." ~ Steve Jobs

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Waiting for a New Big Thing

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 companies became  market leaders: some sort of window of opportunity opened, and the leader was the company that was the first to 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."

Entrepreneurial Leader: 4 Attributes

Jobs didn’t give Rummelt a doorknob-polishing answer. "He didn’t say, “We’re cutting costs and we’re making alliances.” He was waiting until the right moment for that predatory leap, which for him was Pixar and then, in an even bigger way, the iPod. That very predatory approach of leaping through the window of opportunity and staying focused on those big winsnot on maintenance activitiesis what distinguishes a real entrepreneurial strategy." Jobs didn’t need to make a fantastic leap of imagination into the far future. He found a set of ideas that needed to be quickly and decisively acted upon... More

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