According to Whitwam, too many managers are still running their businesses with the same old regional fiefdoms and inadequate ways of satisfying customers. As a result, few would-be global companies have escaped the deadly war of attrition in which cost and quality are the only weapons and ever-declining margins the only prize.In the following interview, Harvard Business Review associate editor Regina Fazio Maruca asks Whitwam: What’s the most crucial lesson you’ve learned about how a company builds a global competitive advantage?
Here's Whitwam's response:
The only way to gain lasting competitive advantage is to leverage your capabilities around the world so that the company as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Being an international company—selling globally, having global brands or operations in different countries—isn’t enough.Read more: The Right Way to Go Global: An Interview with Whirlpool CEO David Whitwam (March-April 1994 Issue)