Sharks and Strategy

Animals and Strategy – 1 Short notes on how animal traits (or the perception thereof) can be used for Strategic thoughts 

Sharks get a lot of attention : the most watched YouTube video (>7 bln times) is Baby Sharks from Pinkfong  Pinkfong babysharks on YouTube

Famous sharks
“Steven Spielberg’s Jaws features in most all-time top movie lists”

The outside world is full of sharks. Fierce competitors with deep pockets and a ferocious appetite for gaining market share using all their power. Or financial powerhouses looking to force your company onto a short-term value extraction strategy. Even huge customers and suppliers using their power to capture all the money in the value chain. And of course, now new digital companies going for the jugular of traditional industries. Yes, it is to eat or to be eaten … So how to deal with a counter party that has huge strength and all the cards?

  1. Be fast and nimble moving into new product/segments/applications/geo’s (remember sharks do not see well, they hunt by scent)
  2. If you cannot beat them join them – like the famous Pilot Fish or Remora’s (cleaning the shark) – benefit from their strength and live of the spoils
  3. Hit them where it hurts, most customers of large shark company like a second choice and often absolute leaders become complacent or even arrogant – you can use this

In all cases do not let your fear (or admiration) blind you to inaction or giving in. 

Maybe you want to be the shark?

That certainly is attractive as almost all studies show that market power is the leading parameter for top financial performance.

If you go for the Shark strategy, you have to make sure you are a healthy and large shark. Do you have what it takes to win completely?

One challenge of a strategy of being a Shark is that nobody trusts you and that all your interactions (negotiations, partnerships, cooperations) are based on power. And when (not if!) the power shifts, most people have long memories.

Want to learn more or discuss your shark situation contact