The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy

By Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi | 2010

Discover your company's essential advantage.

The conventional wisdom about strategy may be leading your company astray. In The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy, Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi maintain that success in any market accrues to firms with a coherence premium — a tight match between their strategic direction and the capabilities that make them unique.

"The Essential Advantage should be 'essential' reading. Leinwand's and Mainardi's unique approach of assessing internal strengths first — then one's product or services portfolio — is a fresh way forward that should be part of every CEO's and business leader's playbook."
Eric Spiegel - President and CEO, Siemens Corporation

Achieving coherence requires a sharpness of focus that few companies have mastered. This book helps you identify your firm's distinctive blend of strategic direction and differentiated capabilities that give you the "right to win" in your chosen markets.

A look inside The Essential Advantage
Take a look at this ebook that explains the main concepts from The Essential Advantage in a crisp and accessible way.

Based on extensive research and providing a wealth of exercises, tools, and company examples from many industries — including, Walmart, Pfizer, Inditex (Zara), Itaú Unibanco, and Procter & Gamble — The Essential Advantage helps you construct a strategically coherent company in which the pieces reinforce each other instead of working at cross-purposes.

"Companies have many strategic options, especially in fast-growing markets and industries. The Essential Advantage is a powerful reminder that capabilities should play the central role in sorting through them. Strategy should start with understanding what your company does really well — and using that knowledge to generate a corporate direction where you can be confident of winning."
Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar - Group Chief Operating Officer, Etisalat Group

Among other insights, the authors reveal

  • Why you should focus on a system of only a few differentiated capabilities
  • How to identify the way to play in your market by finding the nexus of your customers and your own capabilities
  • Why you should manage your portfolio to fit your capabilities system
  • How to raise your top line by deploying your capabilities for growth
  • How to uncover surprising opportunities in M&A that conventional deal makers don't see
  • How changing the way you think about costs can help you grow stronger
  • How to rework your organizational structures and practices to become more coherent than your competitors

Few companies achieve a capabilities-driven right to win in their market. This book helps you position your firm among them.

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