Book Review: Competing for the Future

Competing for the Future
This book is all about “core competence”, a term coined by the authors (Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad) several years before and had become an industry buzz word. I liked the book as it tried to elevate strategy to a different status, a more positive one, in the eyes of companies.

It was however surprising that nothing much has changed the shape and face of what strategy is in companies since the time this book was written. Strategy is still considered a burden in several organizations and consulting firms have taken control and ownership of that function. Strategy in effect has turned out to be a wasteful exercise involving several resources working over time to create nothing for the future.

Hamel and Prahalad come up with a strong viewpoint on how strategy is about what the future could look like from an industry transformation standpoint. This does not take into consideration what you as a company are doing today and how successful or unsuccessful you are today. This foresight is based on core competence and what it can do for a company. 
They then recommend that the company needs to evaluate what it should do today to get to that new World in the future. I think that is the single biggest change in mindset that I believe not may companies are willing to adopt even today. Strategy has definitely been about what we can do in the next 3-5 years, given what we have today as a company. A point that the authors raise in their book and try to change.

This is a good read and has obviously been a top seller since a long time. The point that it hasn’t changed the industry landscape and strategy’s position in general may however make you wonder whether academic dictum really means anything in a corporate world where bureaucracy rules and “change” is always hard to adapt to.

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