Think about stuff in easy way. Thats was the thing which I learned from the school times. It should be easy to understand and it should be easy to explain. This is the formula of “really understanding” the concept.
There must be the same approach for the competitive world I believe. That was my search. On each experience you gain, one piece of puzzle comes to your focus and you try to find the best place for it. Today, I decided to write down 5 key elements which is vital and can make you ahead of competitors immediately.
- Compete for future market, not for todays – Life is fast. It is not like in 50s or 80s where one competitive advantage could live for years. Without the information enabled community the opportunities were spotted late and therefore potential gaps were filled in years. Nowadays the business arbitrage (covering the business opportunity empty spaces) lives very short life. In information driven community it is spotted fast and covered fast. Therefore if you decide to work for todays opportunities it is already late, since, once when you will be ready to earn money from it you will see a lot other players who is also there. The cake will be shared to many pieces. The best thing is to feel and guess the future, invest from today to critical pathways to reach future first. Since if you reach future first you will be the first and only one in this field. If you look to the different business stories you will find the same pattern. They got to the future first.
- Staff is army. It needs trust, belief for vision and discipline while execution. – Even do you have best weapons, best strategic position, best time advantage without right soldiers and commanders you will probably fail. Even obvious victories can turn into fails without right people. Like in army morale and belief of soldiers is critical for business world also. They have to believe that they are fighting for the idea together and victory means far more than bonus received at the end of month. Therefore you need to make sure of 2 things: To have Leaders not Managers. To have common feel and ideology of a shared target to be achieved. You can not get those 2 with money. No. It needs sincerity, trust and hard working spirit.
- Have efficient and lean operation – Think about Japan. I’d probably say that they managed first to get as country competitive advantage to be the leanest operation in comparison to other countries. Each company in Japan was able to produce and earn more with same or less resources than in US in or Europe. For example, in earliest car manufacture rally Japanese companies managed to produce 3-4 different models in one single production line where as in US one production line was able to handle only one 1 model. If you are competing in todays crazy world of competition , “doing more with less” is always a competence you will need to have. This is where you get ahead of competition where you are head to head with the competitor at the similar level of competences. Each AZN you spend to your business should generate more revenue than your competitors manage to make. It does not mean that todays “cost cuts” are best efficiency measures. Cost cuts are result of late diagnosis of illness. Therefore when you spot it and try to cut “unnecessary costs” there you also sacrifice of “necessary costs”. You have to do things in efficient way as a process, not time to time as campaigns.
- Listen to customers but don’t deliver everything they ask for – Remember what Mr. Ford, producer the earliest cars for world, said about the customer feedbacks. “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. Customers do not know the future. They only see what they have now and can ask in terms of “better”, “faster”, “stronger”. They probably will not tell you what is the next breakthrough in your industry. Therefore you have to have a task in your agenda, in agenda of your managers to imagine and work for the future of your industry. You have to surprise the customers with something which they even could not imagine that they were in need of.
- Test 10 innovations and get 1 success. Time is more important than everything else. – If you never fell , you will not know how to stand up. That we know and have heard a lot. When you lose, when you fail, it means you learn from this experience. For sure nobody knows the future , therefore we have to make bets for the future and probably most of them should fail, but one and single one from the ten different failed ideas will get your company to the future. You have to have an organizational culture where testing and learning culture predominant of “win only” approach. If you focus your organization into the “win-only” mode then, you have managers who will better of not doing/testing something rather than doing something and taking risks. We reached a time when you do not have time to think much. Time is more important the everything else.