The Growth Advantage: A Book Review by Bob Morris

The Growth Advantage: A Business Blueprint for the Ultimate Competitive Advantage
Bob Lisser
Rowan & Littlefield (May 2022)

Here’s the basic blueprint from an architect of organizational competitive advantages

“To develop a Strategy Advantage, you need to maximize the following components: Purpose (why you do what you do) + Opportunity (what you sell to whom and where) + Advantage (what differentiates you) + Planning (what will be done by whom by when) + Strategy (how) + Execution (now) = Results.”

I have a few concerns about Bob Lisser’s formula and indeed about all formulas for success. However, he has identified the essential components. Eliminate any one of them and failure is certain.

He has written a book in which he explains HOW to take his basic blueprint and use it to build or re-build an organizational structure that has a solid foundation.

He identifies several eminently sound “advantage principles” that include:

o Outcomes are the result of decisions and actions.
o Leaders are made, not born.
o Make a 100% (total) commitment to strategic goals.
o Have the right people completing the most important tasks, top to bottom, all the time.
o Predictive behavior (for better or worse) if completed habitually will predict the future.
o Vagueness and ambiguity are the adversaries of accountability.
o The key to high-impact execution is taking individual and team accountability.

Lisser has much of great value to say about the inevitable challenges encountered when building or re-building an organizational structure that can achieve and then sustain a decisive (if not the “ultimate”) competitive advantage. Change initiatives always encounter often ferocious resistance, often by those who now defend the status quo after eliminating its predecessor.

In Leading Change (1995), James O’Toole suggests — and I agree — that resistance to change is usually the result of what he so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of change.” Again, Lisser’s advice is sound and directly relevant when addressing those issues.

During an interview several years ago, John Kotter suggested that getting people (including change agents) to think differently about change is — in his opinion — the single greatest challenge of all.

I congratulate Bob Lisser on his “blueprint” provided within an operations manual that is urgently needed, especially today when the business world is more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than at any prior time that I can remember. Bravo!


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