If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete. Jack Welch
All businesses have a limited amount of money and people, and competitive wisdom is the ability to use those precious assets wisely. The same is true for an individual. But I am amazed as I work with senior executive teams how little they really know about their competitors and about their own competitive strengths and advantages.
And what often comes across as an understanding of competitive advantage is more likely a “corporate myth” than an actual competitive advantage. “The flexibility of our business model is our competitive advantage”, says the CEO who can’t even get his senior team to revise they way they report monthly KPIs, let alone move people from one group to another very easily.
To have a clear understanding of your competitive advantage(s) in the marketplace, it is necessary to know two things:
- know your competition so well that you fully understand their strengths and weaknesses in relation to your marketplace and customers
- know your own organisational and product strengths and weaknesses so well that you develop plans to mitigate the weaknesses and build on the strengths.
Here’s a little test for the CEO. Give the senior team the task of writing down the company’s organisational and product strengths and weaknesses. You will be amazed at the diversity of opinion and also the amount of “myth” versus “fact-based data”.
I’d say it’s time to do some real thinking about competitive advantage, particularly since we are now competing on a global stage with players in countries we know almost nothing about.
Death is certain when your enemy knows more about you than you know about them.
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress