How can you use time to create sustainable, competitive advantages for your company? Consultant George Stalk, Jr. has spent much of his more than 40 years in the industry thinking about time, and in this episode, he dives deep into strategies that have enabled the best companies to speed up operations, leverage time as an unbeatable competitive tool, and transform their approach to business.
Available now: YouTube | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Transcript
Stalk joined the Boston Consulting Group in 1978 and is based in the firm’s Toronto office. He has focused his consulting career on helping companies create sustainable competitive advantages and has advised the top management of various organizations – mostly in manufacturing, technology, and consumer products—throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. He also wrote the bestselling book Competing Against Time: How Time-Based Competition Is Reshaping Global Markets, a book that Apple CEO Tim Cook recommends to colleagues and new hires.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
The business press was misleading mainly MBA students and middle managers into thinking that business could be played nicely.
The family companies were not as high performing on profitability in the upturns of the market, but nor were they as poor performing as public companies in the downturns.
The average CEO tenure is less than five years right now. And so they’re looking for their investments to produce rewards that they can be compensated for under a shorter time horizon.
The one-sentence description of time-based competition or competing against time is giving your customers what they want, when they want it, where they want it, faster than your competitors can do it.
One doesn’t become a time-based competitor just by taking time out. You become a time-based competitor when you use your time against a competitor.
00:00 – Intro
01:06 – On playing “Hardball”
06:27 – How to fix culture
13:42 – Advantages for private vs. public companies
24:25 – On having different time horizons
34:05 – Why private companies hold more capital
37:30 – On “Competing Against Time”
48:37 – How Walmart attacked K-Mart
53:27 – What’s the relationship between focus and time
55:23 – The Heavy-Spender Phenomenon
58:39 – How cost and time relate
01:05:46 – How does speed transfer to software companies
01:15:26 – Just-In-Time and Lean Manufacturing