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The Escher Cycle: Creating Self-Reinforcing Business Advantage by [Jackson, Finn]
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The Escher Cycle: Creating Self-Reinforcing Business Advantage Kindle Edition

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Length: 336 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English
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Product Description

Great companies all share a common trait: they flawlessly execute day-to-day activities while maintaining a clear vision for the future. 'The Escher Cycle' is the model for achieving that greatness.

Step-by-step, Finn Jackson shows us how to create strategic advantage by focusing on increasing levels of operational excellence. The ultimate competitive advantage, he reveals, is not only sustainable but also self-reinforcing.

Strategic and practical, the author starts by identifying the key minimum activities that make any business successful. He then shows how becoming better than rivals at carrying out these activities is what provides a business with four distinct layers of strategic competitive advantage.

The first layer of advantage is Operations. This involves carrying out the basic activities better than rivals.
The second layer is Leadership. Here, advantage comes from balancing and aligning the different parts to optimise the business as a whole.
The third layer is strategy. This is about fine-tuning the way the activities are carried out to match the particular part of the economy where the business is operating.
And the fourth and ultimate layer of strategic advantage comes when the business connects all its different activities together in a way that generates higher levels of performance at all of them. This is the 'Escher Cycle'.

'The Escher Cycle' describes clearly how to create each layer of self-reinforcing business advantage, by leveraging the forces of progress which created the successful companies we have today, and which are already forming the successful companies of tomorrow.

Virtuoso performance in any field of human activity comes from focused execution of exactly what is needed -- no more and no less -- together with perfect coordination of those activities. This book explains how to achieve that virtuoso performance in business.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 16423 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hertford Street Press; 2 edition (15 February 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00TP1F640
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #961,482 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A way to approach business to create an ongoing cycle of success 14 April 2008
By Craig Matteson - Published on
Finn Jackson had a successful career in building businesses and then as a business architect helping other companies. Through this book he can help you see how business advantage (competitive advantage) can be created and maintained by allowing it to evolve and transform as demanded by your competitive markets.

The title refers to those famous drawings by Escher of stairs that seem to ascend or descend forever. His goal is to show you how to create an endless self-perpetuating path of self-reinforcing business advantage. He sees success in four layers. The first layer comes with the lowest level of business success. That is, the least you can do to qualify as a successful business. His phrase is to "make money by using resources to satisfy customer needs". Jackson spends a chapter analyzing what it means to satisfy customer needs, using resources, and finally what it means to make money. That making money thing is a tad more elusive than you might think.

Layer 2 is about leadership, which he sees as balancing the management of activities in the present while setting up the mechanisms for success in the future, which will turn into the present soon enough. He adds the words "now and in the future" to the level 1 statement of success.

Layer 3 talks about the importance of strategy and its true role in your success. For Jackson, success is about making your activities and processes more efficient and executing them better than your competitors. He doesn't give a fig about grand corporate strategies. In fact, he says that strategy is only something you use to measure and adjust the effectiveness of your activities.

Layer 4 is achieving the Escher Cycle. Where you put all that you have learned to do in the previous three layers in order to make it an endless cycle of success.

An interesting book that you might well find useful.

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple framework for troubleshooting and growth 13 May 2008
By George Black - Published on
The Escher Cycle starts by outlining a simple framework which can be applied to any business. As a start-up this helps identify where to put your efforts and how to restrict your scope and ambition so that you can get your business going. A practical, focused approach which cuts through what you want to do and helps you realise what you need to do.

This framework then scales to the next stages of growth, again maintaining focus and the best use of resources at each stage. This, coupled with advice on optimising operations and putting good leadership in place, shows how you can achieve a business advantage, which in these competitive times is paramount.

Not content with just tackling this, the book then talks about strategy and what you need to do to maintain your competitive advantage as the world changes around you.

As an internet start-up with more ambition than focus I have found the Escher Cycle invaluable in directing me in a no-nonsense way to figure out what we need to be doing to get revenue and growth. There is so much great business advice out there and people telling you what you should be doing, the difficulty is in figuring out what order you should tackle things. If I had achieved the perspective this book gave me earlier it would have save me a year of development and given me a year of sales.

I shall be taking this book with me as my business grows. The simplicity of the lessons and framework apply at all stages from a start-up to a mature, century old company. If Kodak or the music industry had read this book and been keeping an eye on maintaining their strategic business advantage they would not be in the trouble they are now.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Forest and the Trees! 11 January 2006
By Byron W - Published on
Verified Purchase
I read this book about a year ago, and it still sticks with me. This book steps back from each arm of a business to give a holistic view of not only how businesses operate, but how to integrate different functions: strategy, operations, marketing, finance, consumer research, etc.

The Escher Cycle shows how to detect and analyze which aspects of your business need building and/or tuning. It also shows you how to reshape your business according to the winds of the market and the transformations of your own business (from high-cost to low-cost/low-end to high end) and which types of transformations are natural outgrowths of your business!
4.0 out of 5 stars Graphic picture of the unending elements of success 2 May 2008
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on
Finn Jackson is a very practical business architect. Instead of focusing on theoretical abstractions, he shows why concrete activities, choices and processes matter. He writes that strategy's only use is to help you refine and adjust your actions. He explains how to use such basic ideas as wise deployment of resources, strong leadership and realistic strategies to create your own "Escher Cycle" of repeating renewal and competitive advantage. Then Jackson shows how to sustain your ongoing competitive edge by letting your business change as competition and the future demand. getAbstract thinks he paints a graphic picture of the unending elements of success.
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read. 20 March 2009
By billh2222 - Published on
Verified Purchase
I don't get all the way through many books, but I finished this one.
It actually got better towards the end, with some really original thinking.