BOOKS: DEFINING VALUE IN THE CORPORATIONBy
Corporate value isn’t always recognized and is rarely rewarded on a continual basis. Further, corporate value that is being created but isn’t yet realized is difficult for investors to understand. But just because value isn’t recognized, rewarded, or understood doesn’t mean that value isn’t present. Surely part of the art of management is to not only sustain and create value but also to convince investors of the value proposition that is yet to be delivered.
In Beyond Competitive Advantage, Todd Zenger identifies the factors that “discover, target and then craft attractive market positions that deliver sustained advantage in competitive markets.” Crafting competitive advantage includes a culture of continual value creation. Put into the language of sports, it’s always good winning last year’s championship, but yesterday’s victories mean nothing when today’s scorecard is tallied.
This is a book about corporate theories that underlie sustained growth and create value. Quoting psychologist Kurt Lewin “that there is nothing as practical as a good theory,” the author makes the following assertion: “Regardless of position or place in the organization, great strategic leaders see and discover value-creating paths that others cannot. If your vision holds only what others see, you are redundant as a value creator, easily replaced. Your insight offers no value.” The book defines corporate theory, describes the necessary components of corporate theory, and offers advice to ensure credit from financial markets when the theory is a good one.
One chapter is devoted to the incredibly difficult decision of whether to make or buy. Readers who have been involved in disastrous outsourcing or integration projects will recognize the pitfalls to be avoided and the benefits to be gained. “Make or buy decisions are not mere items in a checklist—once done, never to be revisited…with a recognition that a decision to switch is not a signal of failure. Rather, it reflects the passage of time and a growing imbalance in the advantages and disadvantages of the original choice.”
Beyond Competitive Advantage will make you reconsider creating and sustaining corporate value as well as your role in the process.