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Strategy for Hypercompetition Era
An examination of successful hypercompetitive firms by Richard D’Aveni – and published in his remarkable book, Hypercompetion -- revealed that many utilized some or all of a new set of approaches—the New 7-S's. These are:

• superior Stakeholder Satisfaction
• Strategic Soothsaying
• positioning for Speed
• positioning for Surprise
• Shifting the rules of competition
• Signaling strategic intent
• Simultaneous and Sequential strategic thrusts

The New 7-S's are concerned with the ability of the company to create disruption, seize the initiative, and create a series of temporary advantages. The first two of these S's—stakeholder focus and strategic soothsaying—are concerned with establishing a vision for how to disrupt the market. This includes setting goals, setting the firm's disruption strategy, and identifying some core competencies necessary for the firm to create specific disruptions. The second two—speed and surprise—are focused on key capabilities that can be applied across a wide array of actions intended to disrupt the status quo. The final three—shifting the rules, signaling, and simultaneous and sequential strategic thrusts—are concerned with disruptive tactics and actions in hyper-competitive environments.

You can download excellent powerpoint slides on Marketing Strategy and Marketing Management HERE.

The first two S's provide the vision and core competencies for disruption. They define the source of new advantages and ways to achieve them. Superior stakeholder satisfaction is the key to winning each dynamic strategic interaction with competitors. The process of developing new advantages or undermining those of competitors begins with an understanding of how to satisfy customers. By discovering ways to satisfy customers, the company can identify its next moves to seize the initiative. But customers are not the only stakeholders that must be satisfied. By empowering employees, the company can gain the internal motivation and vision needed to carry out those moves.

Strategic soothsaying is a process of seeking out new knowledge necessary for predicting or even creating new temporary windows of opportunity that competitors will eventually enter but that are not now served by anyone else. These opportunities can be found by creatively combining products, understanding trends in the business environment that will open up new opportunities, and serving new customer markets with the existing capabilities of the firm.

To quickly take advantage of the vision identified by the first two S's, the company needs to develop the capability for disruption through the next two S's—speed and surprise. These capabilities can be used across a series of dynamic strategic interactions. By pre-positioning the company's organizational capabilities for speed and surprise, the firm creates the ability to react quickly to opportunities in the environment or to proactively out-maneuver competitors at every stage of the dynamic strategic interactions between companies.

Because advantages are eroded quickly, capabilities for speed and surprise are vital to seizing the initiative. Speed and surprise are needed to take advantage of opportunities, to move quickly against competitors, or to respond to a competitor's attack. Speed is also a key part of competitive advantage, because it enhances the ability to serve customers and to choose the moment in time that the firm will enter the market (e.g., as a first mover or a fast follower). Surprise is also crucial to success. The longer the first mover can delay entrance by competitors into the market by stunning them with a surprise attack, the more time there is to create a strong / position and make gains before the competition responds and forces movement onto the next market, product, or new method of competing.


The final three S's are concerned with tactics or punch/counterpunches used in a hypercompetitive environment. Shifting the rules of competition is concerned with actions that redefine the battlefield. By shifting the rules of the game, the company creates new opportunities to satisfy customers. The company finds new ways of satisfying customers that transform the industry, such as adapting the personal computer to serve the mainframe computing industry or inventing the disposable razor to transform the market for standard razors.

Signals—verbal announcements of strategic intent—are important preludes to more powerful actions. Signals can stall the actions of competitors or create uncertainty that erodes their will to defend against attacks. They can preannounce or fake aggressive offensive moves that alter the behavior of competitors. Thus, signals can be used to disrupt the status quo and interactions between companies and thereby create an advantage.

Simultaneous and sequential strategic thrusts are the use of a series of actions designed to stun or confuse competitors, disrupting the status quo to create new advantages or erode those of competitors. Whereas traditional strategic actions have been treated one at a time, actions in hypercompetition are used in combinations that are difficult to unravel and difficult to defend against. These thrusts move on several geographic or market fronts simultaneously. By manipulating competitors' reactions using a series of simultaneous or sequential actions, they result in the initiating company's advantage. Simultaneous and sequential strategic thrusts are used by hypercompetitive firms to harass, paralyze, induce error, or block competitors.

Source of Reference:
Richard D’Aveni, Hypercompetition : Managing the Dynamics of Strategic Maneuvering, , Free Press. You can obtain this excellent book here

You can download excellent powerpoint slides on Marketing Strategy and Marketing Management HERE.