The Point: I met with a leader during the week who was competitive to say the least (Make that extremely competitive!) In their drive to succeed, they often overlooked their individual purpose, the potential of their organization’s stakeholders, and the “bigger” picture of where their organization fit into the market that they seemed to dominate. Perhaps a good thing? Probably accompanied by many potential bad things though. In this post, we’ll take a look at harnessing the power of competitive advantage as a leader along with five tips to align directionally for success… Enjoy!
Go… Fight… Win!
It’s been said that business is war. In order to accomplish victory in such “battles” it’s important to keep in mind not only what will be gained in such moments, but also what very well might be lost. John was a small mid-cap sized organizational C-Suite leader. Appearing to be in control of the majority of his faculties, he set out a strategic vision during one of our leadership development executive coaching sessions.
“If we execute this plan, our competition will look to strike here” he commented drawing out what appeared to be a marketing battle map on a scratch pad. “If they strike here we’ll have them exactly where we want them… Weak!” While these were grandiose plans (and why aim small and miss small when you can aim big and miss big!), he lacked the perspective of other organizational leaders and stakeholders. The fight had been fought without single action step being taken, and John was claiming victory.
The leadership challenge faced in this example is one that has many facets. So let’s see if we can’t break them down by offering five (5) tips for competitive advantage:
Tip #5 – Innovation
There’s no doubt that you’ve read a lot lately about innovation and its role in organizational domination. “Innovate or perish” seems to be a captivating mantra. However, what does innovation truly look like, and more importantly who is supposed to be doing all this innovation? The bottom line is that in order for competitive advantage to take place someone/somewhere within the walls of the organization had better be planning/developing what’s next.
Tip #4 – Engagement
Similar in leadership popularity to innovation is the concept of engagement. Leadership as well as stakeholders engagement level not only sets the tone for competitive advantage, but accompanying pace as well.
Tip #3 – Inefficiencies
How are you/your organization measuring your efficiencies? If you have a key performance indicator (KPI) dashboard that insures that you are approaching targets on-time (and modify course accordingly when off), then you have a leg-up on your competition that might believe they are measuring like-kind indicators but are lacking the “key” components.
Tip #2 – Learning Leaders/Organizations
The key to Tip #3 – Inefficiencies lies in your ability to learn as a leader as well as an organization. While success breeds more success, there is an often misunderstood component regarding what lessons can be learned from moments of failure. Learning from both provides competitive advantages.
Tip #1 – Tools
Do you/your stakeholders have the right data, and perhaps most important are they equipped to take action on what they learn? If so, you have properly equipped yourself/your stakeholders with the tools for competitive advantage. Without these tools (out of date, broken, and/or nonexistent) and you’ll be at a competitive disadvantage.
In this post we’ve looked at the leadership challenge of competitive advantage and five tips regarding how you can seize such moments so as to continue to progress down successful paths as a leader. Leadership development and executive coaching provides a framework to explore such opportunities, but implementation/execution/sustainment initiatives play a crucial role in the battle for future success.