Strategy - Pure and Simple
A fair competition means you’re smart, fast and you probably also try harder – you’re simply better. Unfortunately, you only have a small time window over your competitors. Forget the 'old school' thinking in operational excellence, customer intimacy and product leadership terms (Treacy & Wiersema) when it comes to strategy. There are many more ways to create strategic differentiation...
Managers in strong and poor performing companies are doing for 95% identically the same things. This is what we use to call ‘GOOD MANAGEMENT’. But good management is not what we talk about here to outperform yoru competitors. It ‘s about the other 5% that you do differently*. This is about ‘STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP’. * If 5% sounds too little to you, remember that human beings and chimpanzees are 98 % identical in their genetic makeup.
Dell simply (…) saw the future. But today everyone sells computers online. De Witte Lietaer had a technology differentiator (Jacquard weaving), but cadcam made the strategic advantage disappear, unfortunatelty they reacted too slow. Think great companies like Kodak, Digital, Palm... what happened with all these great companies ? They attracted the best students from the best universities, they spend millions in research, But they are all gone.
Now think Michelin, HP, Ryanair, Amazon, Ikea, AirBnb and more recently Uber . They almost control the rules in their sandbox. All competitors are focused on their successes - and they need to differentiate from them. Playing the same strategic 'game' would bring them in huge problems (and some are).
Now think Alpro (Plant food) and Telenet. They recently showed strategic agiilty and changed their strategic drivers when change was needed. It's about putting the money and priorities in the right things.
There are 8 strategic drives to outperform your competition. And it's wise to put priority (invest) in 2 of them, not more. Of course you will need to be 'up on speed' on the other strategic drivers, and not lacking too far behind, but you will need to focus on 2 main strategic differentiatiors. Michelin will never reduce budgets in R&D or sales coverage as long as their strategic drive is 'product'. Telenet has invested in 'segment management' (next to product managment) - and product line stretching - as a result of the strategic driver choices.
Why not read the book 'Strategy - Pure and Simple' to have a first flavour of how we support your strategic leadership discussions ?
It's a great book, warmly recommended.