How to Outthink, Outmaneuver, and Outperform Your Competitors: Lessons from the Masters of Strategy, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

How to Outthink, Outmaneuver, and Outperform Your Competitors

Lessons from the Masters of Strategy, 1st Edition

By Norton Paley

Productivity Press

301 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781466565401
pub: 2013-04-17
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Supplying you with a firm grasp of the roots of strategy, How to Outthink, Outmaneuver, and Outperform Your Competitors: Lessons from the Masters of Strategy explains how to develop the skills and strategies needed to compete in today’s volatile marketplace. It interweaves the classic works of the masters of strategy, such as Sun Tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, Mao Tse-tung, Niccolo Machiavelli, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, and other renowned strategists.

The collective insights of these legendary strategists span 2,500 of combative history and have survived meticulous analysis by scholars. Applied to current competitive business conditions, their time-tested rules and guidelines will prepare you to deal with such issues as: preventing competitors from disrupting your overall growth plans, protecting yourself from a rival’s take-over strategies, and strengthening long-term customer relationships.

Whether you operate as a multinational firm maneuvering for position in a global arena, or a regional business fighting an everyday battle for survival, the foundational principles provided can reinforce your understanding and practice of strategy. The book defines the historical origins of strategy and supplies timeless insight into how successful leaders have implemented comprehensive strategy plans. It also explains how to:

  • Maneuver out of risky competitive situations and into renewed market opportunities
  • Establish a defensible position in a hotly-contested market
  • Apply competitive business techniques to outperform your rivals
  • Align competitive strategies with your organization’s culture
  • Personalize a leadership style to maximize performance from your staff

The book includes three special features:

  1. Strategy Diagnostic Tool—A structured system to help you assess your firm’s competitiveness before committing valuable resources.
  2. Appraising Internal and External Conditions—A comprehensive checklistto analyze those key factors that can determine the success of your business plan.
  3. Strategy Action Plan—A tested formatthat includes step-by-step guidelines to develop a personalized business plan.

The lessons gleaned from military history and strategy can be indispensable in the everyday management of your people and resources. By tapping into the universal logic and historic lessons of strategy, you will fortify your ability to think like a master strategist and add greater precision to your decision-making—thereby allowing you to outthink, outmaneuver, and outperform your competition.

Table of Contents

Apply Strength against Weakness: Maneuver by Indirect Strategy

Maneuver by Indirect Strategy

Developing an Indirect Strategy

Define Your Strategic Goals

What Are Your Organization’s Distinctive Strengths or Areas of Expertise?

What Business Should Your Organization Be in over the Next Three to Five Years?

What Segments or Categories of Customers Will Your Company Serve?

What Additional Functions Are You Likely to Fulfill for Customers as You See the Market Evolve?

What New Technologies Will Your Firm Require to Satisfy Future Customer Needs?

What Changes Are Taking Place in Markets, Consumer Behavior, Competition, Environment, and the Economy That Are Likely to Impact Your Company?

Determine the Resources Needed to Achieve Your Goal

Gather Competitive Intelligence

Establish Security

Implement the Strategy

Develop a Post Strategy


Improve Chances for Securing a Competitive Lead: Act with Speed

Obstacles to Speed

Lack of Reliable Market Intelligence

Mediocre Leadership Stifles Timely and Significant Progress

A Manager’s Low Self-Esteem and Indecisiveness as Deep-Rooted Personality Traits

Lack of Courage to Go on the Offensive, Triggered by the Manager’s Innate Fear of Failure

Managers’ Lack of Confidence in Their Employees’ Discipline, Capabilities, and Skills

No Trust by Employees in Their Managers’ Abilities to Make Correct Decisions

Inadequate Support from Senior Management

Disagreement and Open Confrontations among Line Managers about Objectives, Priorities, and Strategies

A Highly Conservative and Plodding Corporate Culture Places a Drag on Speed

Lack of Urgency in Developing New Products to Deal with Short Product Lifecycles

Organizational Layers, Long Chains of Command, and Cumbersome Committees Prolong Deliberation and Foster Procrastination

Aggressive Competitors Can Cause Fear among Employees, Damage Morale, and Result in Lost Momentum






Complacency or Arrogance as a Prevailing Cultural Mindset

Speed in a Twenty-First-Century Global Setting


Secure a Competitive Advantage: Concentrate at a Decisive Point

Defining a Decisive Point or Segment

Identify a Decisive Point in a Market Segment

Classic Techniques for Selecting a Market Segment

Demographic Segmentation

Geographic Segmentation

Psychographic Segmentation

Product Attributes

Advanced Techniques for Selecting a Segment’s Decisive Point

Natural Markets

Leading-Edge Markets

Key Markets

Linked Markets

Central Markets

Challenging Markets

Difficult Markets

Encircled Markets

Create a Lifeline to Business Strategy: Employ Competitor Intelligence

Employing Agents

Native Agents

Inside Agents

Double Agents

Expendable Agents

Living Agents

Market Signals

Tools and Techniques of Competitive Intelligence

Sales Force

Customer Surveys

Published Data

Government Agencies

Industry Studies

On-Site Observations

Competitor Benchmarking

Maintain High Performance: Align Competitive Strategy with Your Company’s Culture

Qualities of High-Performing Business Cultures

Symbols and Rituals

Revitalize Your Company’s Culture


The Force Multiplier behind Your Business Strategy: Leadership

Strategic Direction and Policies

Self-Confidence and Leadership

Mastering Leadership Skills

Barriers to Effective Leadership

Employees Remain Deficient in Skills

Employees’ Negative Perception of Managers

Limited Support from Management

Conflicts Concerning Objectives, Priorities, and Strategies

A Ponderous Corporate Culture

Limited New Product Development

Unwieldy Committees That Initiate Delays

Pressure from Aggressive Competitors





Leadership in the Competitive World

Using Leadership as a Force Multiplier

Interpersonal Skills

Conceptual Skills

Technical Skills

Tactical Skills

Engage Heart, Mind, and Spirit: Create a Morale Advantage

Motivational Behavior

Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory

McGregor’s XY Theory

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Ouchi’s Theory Z

Morale Links to the Human Heart

Morale Links with Trust

Morale Leads to Unity

Morale Interfaces with Innovation

The Relationship between Morale and Technology

Morale Generates Momentum

Obstacles to Fostering Morale

Deficiency in Planning Skills

Lack of a Strategic Outlook

Absence of Creativity

Inadequate Self-Development

Minimal Self-Confidence

Inferior Communication Skills


Volatile Conduct


Creating a Morale Advantage

Turn Uncertain Market Situations into Fresh Opportunities: Move to the Offensive

Estimates and Calculations

Use a Diagnostic Tool

Use Reserves to Seize Opportunities

Assess Levels of Creativity and Innovation

Friction within the Company and from the Marketplace

Think like Strategists: Lessons from the Masters of Strategy

The Human Factor

Expand Your Employees’ Awareness

Recognize That Employees Harbor Ingrained Habits

Learn to Wait

Learn to Restrain Irritation

Look for the Good in Yourself and Your Employees

Managing Knowledge

Turn on Intuition



Strategy Diagnostic Tool

Appraising Internal and External Conditions

Strategy Action Plan


About the Author

Norton Paley has brought his world-class experience and unique approach to business strategy to some of the global community's most respected organizations. Having launched his career with publishers McGraw-Hill and John Wiley & Sons, Paley founded Alexander-Norton Inc, bringing successful business techniques to clients around the globe including the international training organization Strategic Management Group, where he served as senior consultant.

Throughout his career Paley has trained business managers and their staff in the areas of planning and strategy development, raising the bar for achievement and forging new approaches to problem solving and competitive edge. His clients include:

  • American Express
  • IBM
  • Detroit Edison
  • Chrysler (Parts Division)
  • McDonnell-Douglas
  • Dow Chemical (Worldwide)
  • W.R. Grace
  • Cargill (Worldwide)
  • Chevron Chemical
  • Ralston-Purina
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • USG
  • Celanese
  • Hoechst
  • Mississippi Power

Paley has lectured in The Republic of China and Mexico and has presented training seminars throughout the Pacific Rim and Europe for Dow Chemical and Cargill. As a seminar leader at the American Management Association, he conducted competitive strategy, marketing management, and strategic planning programs for over 20 years.

Published books include:

  • The Marketing Strategy Desktop Guide, 2nd Edition
  • How to Develop A Strategic Marketing Plan
  • The Managers Guide to Competitive Marketing Strategies, 3rd Edition
  • Marketing for the Nonmarketing Executive: An Integrated Management Resource Guide for the 21st Century
  • Successful Business Planning: Energizing Your Company's Potential
  • Manage To Win
  • Mastering the Rules of Competitive Strategy: A Resource Guide for Managers
  • Big Ideas for Small Businesses

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Management Science
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control