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Prioritize to “Compete Smarter, Not Harder”

Success depends on using strategic priorities to decide where and when to compete, says William Putsis, a professor at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School.

To help people think differently about the way they approach markets, Putsis wrote Compete Smarter, Not Harder – A Process for Prioritization through Strategic Thinking (John Wiley & Sons, November 2013). “I’ve seen too many people work too hard who are doomed for failure because they didn’t step back and determine the right part of the market in which to compete,” Putsis says.

He provides a strategic process for developing priorities based on state-of-the-art academic research that he has field tested during 25 years of experience helping companies. Today Fortune 500 companies, such as the Boeing Company and Owens Corning, use his process.

 “I decided to write a book that will help those living and breathing these decisions every day and walk through the logic of strategic prioritization from the ‘30,000-feet view’ all the way down to the tactics on the ground,” he says. “The Internet, mobile technology, the ubiquity of information and the availability of big data have dramatically increased the speed and impact of success and failure. To succeed today you must compete in the most advantageous part of the market.”

Putsis shares stories that illustrate key principles of his process and shows each step, from strategic market selection to tactics for execution, to seize market opportunities that will have the greatest impact across multiple markets.

The chairman of the board and CEO of Owens Corning, Michael H. Thaman, writes that Putsis has made a valuable contribution to strategic thinking with Compete Smarter, Not Harder. “He offers practical tools for helping your organization decide where and how to compete. These are the two critical elements of creating shareholder value: delivering what your customers really want and doing it better than your competition.”

Watch Putsis talk about his process and read his blog at