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Workplace Engagement InsightsLatest Employee Engagement NewsWorkplace EngagementReview of The Discipline of Market Leaders by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema

Review of The Discipline of Market Leaders by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema

This book, published in 1995, is a management classic and is a must read for the C-suite of any company wanting to develop end-to-end alignment of strategy, compensation, and operating processes.

Vertical and horizontal alignment is a core of element of what causes employee engagement and is therefore a critical discussion to have in any company wishing to leverage their human resources for strategic advantage.

Summary of The Discipline of Market Leaders 

The authors of this book offer a compelling discussion of the three dimensions upon which companies can establish a clear competitive stance in the market place. 

Those three dimensions are:Discipline of Market Leaders

1. Customer Intimacy

2. Operational Effectiveness

3. Product Excellence

The thesis put forward is that companies need to decide what discipline they will adopt in their company to establish a clear competitive advantage over their competitors on that dimension. The book goes further, to advise us that you cannot ignore the other two disciplines; you are required to perform on those two dimensions at a level of the acceptable industry standard in order to leverage your chosen discipline for competitive advantage.

They give ample examples of companies competing for the same market that have chosen a different discipline to establish their competitive advantage. A great example given is Toys R Us competing on the discipline of product excellence while Walmart competes for the same toy customer with their core discipline of operational effectiveness.

For the CEO and his or her strategic team, this book is full of practical advice and examples of how the key to making this work is the alignment of all the corporation’s resources and operations with the chosen discipline.

This book, along with Tom Porter’s excellent article from the Harvard Business Review titled “Operational Effectiveness is Not Strategy”, will inspire strategic thinkers to look across their organization for alignment in all their activities to send a consistent message to their customers, suppliers, and (most importantly) employees. Great examples in the article, such as SouthWest Airlines, make the lessons easy to learn and apply to your own strategic thinking.

For the Human Resource professional, this book will give you practical advice on how compensation plans and human resource policies have to adapt to lend value to the discipline chosen. 

>> Workplace Engagement Insights can help your organization engage employees for the best results. Contact us today for more information.


Written by Dwight Lacey

Dwight Lacey

Dwight is the President at Workplace Engagement Insights. He leads Workplace Engagement Insights with a clear understanding of the latest employee engagement research, survey best practices, and leadership styles that create successful businesses.

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