As a multisport athlete, I was always fascinated with competition and how to win. At HBS and later at the Harvard Department of Economics, I was drawn to the field of competition and strategy because it tackles perhaps the most basic question in both business management and industrial economics: What determines corporate performance?
So companies have to be very schizophrenic. On one hand, they have to maintain continuity of strategy. But they also have to be good at continuously improving.
The underlying principles of strategy are enduring, regardless of technology or the pace of change.
A strategy delineates a territory in which a company seeks to be unique.
If all you’re trying to do is essentially the same thing as your rivals, then it’s unlikely that you’ll be very successful.
Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.
You can’t have a healthy society unless you have healthy companies that are making a profit, that are employing people and that are growing.
Strategy 101 is about choices: You can’t be all things to all people.
The thing is, continuity of strategic direction and continuous improvement in how you do things are absolutely consistent with each other. In fact, they’re mutually reinforcing.
Health care historically has been a very siloed field that’s organized around medical specialties – urology, cardiac surgery, and so forth – and around the supply of these specialty services. The patient is the ping-pong ball that moves from service to service.