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Book Review: Creating Competitive Advantage By Jaynie L. Smith

December 5, 2009

Creating Competitive AdvantageCompetitive Advantage – it is the stuff of every business owner’s dreams. The problem is that Competitive Advantage is a moving target. Ms. Smith rightfully makes clear that there is a never ending need to evaluate and re-invent competitive advantage.

Smith’s book is on point with her advice on how to put creating competitive advantage to work in your organization. At the end of each chapter is a summary of the major points and reminders of the lessons learned from the case studies.

Smith uses ample and interesting case studies to make her points. However, what would normally be a strength turns into a weakness as Smith repeatedly pounds home that these are “her clients.” Unfortunately, I’ve seen this same problem with speakers. Often, in an attempt to build credibility, speakers will talk about “my client will . . . ,” or “I have a client who . . . “ or “one of my clients . . . “ The difficulty is, this becomes a hard sell instead of simply building credibility. Smith’s book suffers from this difficulty. What could have been an excellent work, and very timely for the present economic conditions, is diminished by what comes across as self-promotion.

One piece of advice Smith gives is “So brag a little.” I’m uncomfortable with that advice. I understand that companies need to make sure the customer base knows of the advantages of dealing with them. However, especially in this market, I’m finding a real push back on a hard sell. So if you can brag a little without it being perceived as a hard sell, then perhaps that will work for you. In Smith’s case, the perception of this reader is that she went much too far in “bragging a little.”

Having said all that, I still recommend that you read this book and pull out the many good points Smith makes. You may have to work to get by some of the self-promotion, but there is a still enough solid advice to make Smith’s book worthwhile.

Click here to see the book on Amazon.

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