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My weekly journals and readings follows a particular trend. The readings focus on an aspect of business of which I apply (shoddily) to my my journal and work in Mikesbikes. This weeks a little different. A small slice of a side note in Baghai, Smit and Viguerie's 'is your growth strategy flying blind' reading really caught my attention. It said (excuse the long-winded quote) "Companies can grow in three basic ways: by gaining market share, by participating in fast growing markets and by acquiring or merging with new businesses... The weakest contributor is market share – ironically, the area that traditionally commands the most management attention." (p 89)

This week in management 300 has been a distinctive one for me - amongst a plethora of stressful meetings and disastrous rollovers throughout the semester, this one takes the cake. Not so much for its lows but more for the questions it asked and answered for me. This week was distinctive in three ways.1. Our market share reached a truly intolerable low. 2. We were 'offered' a specific slice of the market (should we be acquired by another group) and 3. We were taken over by another company. Throughout Mikesbikes I have been slowly watching my teams market share be whittled away, quietly fuming and feeling helpless at the same time. Imagine my surprise at reading that market share is the weakest contributor to growth! That cant be right can it? Market share represents POWER, it represents DOMINANCE, it represents the SUCCESS that I have been striving for. It has so often in the past been held up as a measure of success that its effects on growth are not questioned, not by the likes of me anyway. The word itself carries a taboo, it is sacred and cherished and it became what myself and my team most desperately (and perhaps blindly) seeked.

Is this what has lead us to such a disastrous situation? Perhaps, for my team and I, we find ourselves in a hole. So focused have we become on gaining market share, we have failed to create what Baghai et al calls a granular understanding of our market. Our obsession with 'the broad picture' - ironically - appears to have made our image fuzzy, the fuzzy part being our position in the market. We failed to recognize both our own markets pattern of decline, as well as potential of other markets for growth. I believe we became so focused on survival, we failed to understand the basis of business - that of a differentiated product.

At this stage it is important to remember we have two options of growth still open to us. Having been taken over by another company, we await the aforementioned slice of market that has been waiting for us, unrecognized, for the past 5 weeks of the simulation. Here is an opportunity to create real growth with a focus not on market share but on market strategy. Being taking over is a blessing. At one point we were asked "are you sure you don't mind being taken over?" At the time I was somewhat apathetic but now, now I recognize the blessing in disguise as we try to salvage some pride from the final two rollovers.

 

Baghai, M., Smit, S., & Viguerie, P. (2009). Is your growth strategy flying blind? Harvard Business Review, 87(5), 86—96.

 

2 Comments

  1. Very unfortunate to hear that your company has been taken over.

    First of all I like how you have structured your journal and listing the results of your rollover.
    It is good to see that you found where you lacked attention and drifted too far with the obsession to the 'broad picture'. From your journal it looks as if you tried to focus too much on obtaining a large market share. One thing you could do is to explain what other decision choice you could have made to not get into this current situation or other ways to slowly grab market share. 

    Overall it was an interesting to read. 

  2. Hi Angus,

    you have a really nice style of writing, not only very easy to read, but you have shown great depth in realizing and analyzing the problems you and your team faced this week. It is good that you haven't seen being taken over as a negative factor, as the firm that has taken you over obviously see potential in your groups future. It is good to see that you and your team have realized that you focused too much on market share as there are so many other factors to consider in MikesBikes

    In regards to your writing, I feel you could have touched on Dauedlin's final stage of reflection in expanding on what you could have done differently, and how your group will overcome the outlined problems. Overall I enjoyed your journal and you related your reflection for the week to the reading well. All the best with the rest of the course (smile)