Ohmae's Key success factors LO11682

Myers, Kent (myers@carsoninc.com)
Mon, 6 Jan 1997 09:23:30 -0500

Replying to LO11650 --

The concept of 'key' or 'critical' success factor is the perfect opposite
of systems thinking. I've always used it as an indicator: if a person
uses the phrase or responds to it favorably, he is not a systems thinker
and we will have a hard time communicating. I gave up trying to explain
the point because "key thinking" is often a deep commitment that is
impervious to reason, evidence, or experience. But I was beginning to
think I was a crank, since leading writers never seemed to make the point
for me. I was delighted to read the following in the current issue of
Harvard Business Review (Michael E. Porter, "What is Strategy?", Nov/Dec
1996, p70):

"The importance of fit among functional policies is one of the oldest
ideas in strategy. Gradually, however, it has been supplanted on the
management agenda. Rather than seeing the company as a whole, managers
have turned to 'core' competencies, 'critical' resources, and 'key'
success factors. In fact, fit is a far more central component of
competitive advantage than most realize....

What is Southwest's core competence? Its key success factors? The
correct answer is that everything matters. Southwest's strategy involves
a whole system of activities, not a collection of parts. Its competitive
advantage comes from the way its activities fit and reinforce each other."

Kent Myers myersk@us.net myers@carsoninc.com
Alexandria, VA


"Myers, Kent" <myers@carsoninc.com>

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