The Escher Cycle: Creating Self-Reinforcing Business Advantage (英語) ハードカバー – Large Print, 2004/10/31
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This book shows how to achieve virtuoso performance in business. Strategic and practical, the author starts by identifying the key minimum activities that make any business successful. He then shows how becoming better than rivals at carrying out those activities is what provides a business with four distinct layers of strategic competitive advantage: The first layer of advantage comes from carrying out the basic activities better than rivals. This is Operations. The second layer comes from balancing and aligning the different parts to optimize the business as a whole. This is Leadership. The third layer comes from fine-tuning the way the activities are carried out to match the particular area of the economy where the business is operating. This is Strategy. And the fourth and ultimate layer of strategic advantage comes when the business connects all its different activities together in a way that generates higher levels of performance at them all. This is the Escher Cycle. The Escher Cycle describes how to create self-reinforcing business advantage, by leveraging the forces of progress that created the successful companies we have today, and which are already forming the successful companies of tomorrow. Virtuoso performance in business, as in any field of human activity, comes from focusing on exactly what is neededno more and no lessand then co-ordinating those different activities perfectly. This book explains how to achieve that in business.
"This is one of the clearest accounts I have read about the principles of successful business strategy and practice. Finn Jackson doesn 't waste a word. He describes business as a living system; he understands the many different ideas that motivate business people, and he guides the reader through the maze without over complicating or oversimplifying."
It reveals the key activities that make a strategic difference. It shows how to create strategy that is action-driven. And it shows how a business can copy the forces that drive 'progress', to build a virtuous circle of the ultimate, self-reinforcing competitive advantage.
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The Escher Cycle shows how to detect and analyze which aspects of your business need building and/or tuning. It also shows you how to reshape your business according to the winds of the market and the transformations of your own business (from high-cost to low-cost/low-end to high end) and which types of transformations are natural outgrowths of your business!
It actually got better towards the end, with some really original thinking.
The title refers to those famous drawings by Escher of stairs that seem to ascend or descend forever. His goal is to show you how to create an endless self-perpetuating path of self-reinforcing business advantage. He sees success in four layers. The first layer comes with the lowest level of business success. That is, the least you can do to qualify as a successful business. His phrase is to "make money by using resources to satisfy customer needs". Jackson spends a chapter analyzing what it means to satisfy customer needs, using resources, and finally what it means to make money. That making money thing is a tad more elusive than you might think.
Layer 2 is about leadership, which he sees as balancing the management of activities in the present while setting up the mechanisms for success in the future, which will turn into the present soon enough. He adds the words "now and in the future" to the level 1 statement of success.
Layer 3 talks about the importance of strategy and its true role in your success. For Jackson, success is about making your activities and processes more efficient and executing them better than your competitors. He doesn't give a fig about grand corporate strategies. In fact, he says that strategy is only something you use to measure and adjust the effectiveness of your activities.
Layer 4 is achieving the Escher Cycle. Where you put all that you have learned to do in the previous three layers in order to make it an endless cycle of success.
An interesting book that you might well find useful.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
This framework then scales to the next stages of growth, again maintaining focus and the best use of resources at each stage. This, coupled with advice on optimising operations and putting good leadership in place, shows how you can achieve a business advantage, which in these competitive times is paramount.
Not content with just tackling this, the book then talks about strategy and what you need to do to maintain your competitive advantage as the world changes around you.
As an internet start-up with more ambition than focus I have found the Escher Cycle invaluable in directing me in a no-nonsense way to figure out what we need to be doing to get revenue and growth. There is so much great business advice out there and people telling you what you should be doing, the difficulty is in figuring out what order you should tackle things. If I had achieved the perspective this book gave me earlier it would have save me a year of development and given me a year of sales.
I shall be taking this book with me as my business grows. The simplicity of the lessons and framework apply at all stages from a start-up to a mature, century old company. If Kodak or the music industry had read this book and been keeping an eye on maintaining their strategic business advantage they would not be in the trouble they are now.