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Competitive strategy is just a game

12 July 2010

The world cup final yesterday brought the fundamentals of competitive business strategy into sharp focus. The Dutch were outclassed on paper. Man for man the Spanish were clearly more skillful but Holland had figured out a way they could win. For the non footballers out there the strategy was crude but effective. It centred on kicking lumps out of the Spanish at every opportunity which turned the game into a war zone thereby removing the skill factor and with that Spain’s competitive advantage. [youtube][/youtube]It was ugly stuff and certainly was not a good advertsiement for ‘the beautiful game’ .
In the end Spain squeezed out a narrow victory but Holland had their chances.
What it shows is that a good competitive cannot gurantee success but it does provide a route to victory even if the odds are stacked against you.
Another sport that relies heavily on competitive strategy is tennis. Brad Gilbert wrote an excellent book called ‘Winning Ugly’ in which he expalined how to win matches against more skillful, faster and more powerful opponents.
The key for football teams, tennis players, brands and business is to find a winning strategy. It won t always be pretty !