The Ultimate Competitive Advantage

Book Review: The Ultimate Competitive Advantage by Donald Mitchell and Carol Coles

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership, Book Reviews

Of all the books I’ve read on change management this is the most precise in its statement about how corporations need to manage the continuous innovation of their business model in order to survive and thrive in our global, competitive marketplace. Replete with real world examples of successful business model innovation, traps, and pitfalls, this clearly written book provides definitions, case studies, and “rules to live by.”

Continually provide more benefits for your customers; “. . . business model obsolescence is the major unperceived opportunity for and threat to all businesses now” is the self-proclaimed “Big Idea” of this book. Indeed it is. From that theme, Mitchell and Coles go on to build an air-tight case for continuous business model improvement. And the business model is simply defined as the: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, and How Much for your product or service. But the simplicity of this concept of a business model should not mislead the reader. There is a significant amount of introspection and work that a leadership team must go through to really understand the answers to these questions in order to map where they are today and what they might do to positively change the model.

Mitchell and Coles keep our interest through real live case studies as well as tracking the growth of a child’s Lemonade Stand business. The book is divided into four major parts: 1 The Most Productive Areas for Business Model Innovation; 2. Provide Sustained Benefits for All Stakeholders; 3. Expand Business Model Innovation; and 4. Pursue Higher-Potential Business Model Improvement. Each of these sections use real life case studies and hypothetical Lemonade Stands to illustrate the business change management principles. Those examples also provide hope and encouragement to leadership teams in all kinds of businesses that they are not alone in keeping change management from becoming an oxymoron!

After reading this book, you will want to keep it handy for reference, ideas for new paths to explore, and to loan to others who seem simply not to “get it!” What I appreciated most was the honest focus on providing what customers and end users really want in a product or service. Starting there, we can drive our companies to greater achievements by continuous business model innovation. Rarely do I rate a book a five on a scale of five, but Mitchell and Coles get that rating for The Ultimate Competitive Advantage! Learn and participate at: Mitchell and Company.

Click to see it at Amazon.