with Dr. Michael Roberto
June 08, 2023
8 AM - 11 AM Pacific Time
$395 (US) per person

Book by Dr. Michael Roberto
Book by Dr. Michael Roberto



How does a firm develop and execute a distinctive strategy that enables it to create and sustain competitive advantage over its rivals? As you seek the answer to this question, you will develop an in-depth understanding of how and why some firms are able to generate superior economic returns... as well as why others stumble and fail.

To build and sustain competitive advantage, companies have to understand their competitive environment. They must be able to assess the forces that shape profitability in their industry, and they have to recognize the threats and opportunities in that environment. Moreover, building a sustainable advantage requires the establishment of a distinctive competitive position in the marketplace. In this program, we will examine the attributes of an effective strategy, as well as the typical characteristics of flawed and unsuccessful strategies.

Many successful firms falter because they fail to recognize disruptive threats, innovators that bring a different business model as well as a new product or service to the marketplace. We will explore why incumbent firms have such a challenging time dealing with disruptive innovation.

Finally, we will take a look at the issue of diversification. Why do some companies expand their scope, choosing to operate multiple businesses in different product markets? What advantage might these firms accrue by diversifying their product lines, and what risks do they encounter by doing so?

This program will offer key insights that enable you to view your company's strategy and your competitor's behavior in a whole new light. Moreover, it will provide you important frameworks that can help you make decisions at all levels that build and enhance your firm's competitive advantage.



Dr. Michael Roberto is the Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. He joined the tenured faculty at Bryant after serving for six years on the faculty at Harvard Business School. He has also been a Visiting Associate Professor of Management at New York University's Stern School of Business.

His research focuses on decision-making, teamwork, and leadership. He has published three books, the latest of which is titled Unlocking Creativity (Wiley, 2019), Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes For An Answer (2nd edition published in 2013), and Know What You Don't Know (published in 2009). He also has developed three Great Courses lecture series, the best-selling Everest Leadership and Team Simulation, and the award-winning Columbia's Final Mission multi-media case study about the 2003 space shuttle accident.

Dr. Roberto has taught in leadership development programs and consulted at several firms, including Mars, Deloitte, Google, Target, Apple, FedEx, Disney, Morgan Stanley, IBM, Wal-Mart, Amica, and Textron. He's also presented at numerous government organizations, including the FBI, NASA, Joint Special Operations Command, the Air War College, and West Point.

He received an A.B. with honors from Harvard College in 1991. He earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1995, graduating as a George F. Baker Scholar. He also received his doctorate from Harvard Business School in 2000.


  • How to evaluate a competitive environment by assessing the opportunities, threats and profit opportunities
  • Exploring strategies to deal with disruptive threats in your industry
  • Applying tools and techniques that will allow you to draw key insights into your company's strategy as well as that of your competitors



Evaluating the Competitive Environment

Cola Wars, Fitness Centers, Personal Computers, Airlines, Pharmaceuticals

  • We will take a look at the long-running competitive battle between Coca-Cola and Pepsico in the soft drink market. Through this analysis, we will learn to apply a framework for evaluating any industry. This framework will provide us the tools to determine why some industries are more profitable than others, as well as the tools for identifying key threats and opportunities in your competitive environment. We'll extend that analysis to other industries including fitness centers, personal computers, airlines, and pharmaceuticals.

Building and Sustaining Competitive Advantage (1/3 of time)

Case Study: Trader Joe's, Ryanair, and Netflix

  • How did Trader Joe's establish a formidable competitive advantage while going up against much larger established firms in the supermarket industry? How did Ryanair establish a profitable enterprise in an industry (airlines) where so few firms make profits on a consistent basis? How did Netflix overtake Blockbuster and other video rental companies? By examining these three firms, we will learn how firms establish a distinctive competitive position, defend and sustain that position, and deal with disruptive threats.

Diversification and Synergies

Case Study: Disney, GE, Berkshire Hathaway

  • Why does Disney (and other firms such as GE and Berkshire Hathaway) choose to operate in many different businesses? What advantage do they establish by virtue of being in so many different product markets? As firms diversify, we have to ask ourselves: Is the whole worth more than the sum of the parts? In other words, are these businesses worth more together than they would be on their own. The only justification for corporate diversification is if the entities are more valuable together than apart. We will take a look at how to evaluate the decision to expand a company's product portfolio, as well as its decision to enter entirely new markets.

Program Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Delivery Method: Group Internet Based (Zoom platform)
Prerequisites: None
Advanced Preparation: None
Participants will earn 3 CPE credits or 3 PDC credits
Field of Study: Personal Development
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