“When you’re through changing, you’re through.” – Bruce Fairchild Barton
I’m a huge sports fan. I’ve probably spent more time playing & watching sports than all my other leisure activities combined. It’s always interesting to watch teams that seem to have an identity. They know who they are, they know their strengths and weaknesses, and they play accordingly. And usually, those kinds of teams are very successful. They have a clear understanding of how they win at what they do.
The same concept applies to our businesses (and personal lives too, really). We have to have a clear understanding of how we win. If we understand how we win, we have a filter for everything we do, every decision we make, all the strategy we implement, etc. For years, we’ve talked about that with our clients, whether we call it sustainable competitive advantage or unique selling proposition or some other term.
I still think it’s important to understand how we win in the marketplace – but with a caution. We’re all aware of how quickly the world is changing. Those changes affect us every day, sometimes in ways we don’t understand or even recognize. One of the impacts of all those changes is that how we win in the marketplace will change.
Gone are the days where if we had a competitive advantage we could ride it for years with very little turbulence. We’re now in a world where whatever advantage we think we have can vanish very quickly. So what do we do?
We adapt. We continuously evaluate our markets, our competitors, ourselves, and most important – our customers. What do our customers really value? How are we providing that? Not only that, but what do we think they’re going to value next year? Three years from now? Five years from now? And what are we doing to get ready for that?
Think about your business. Are you coasting along, trying to win the same way you have for years? Maybe it’s still working. Congratulations. But will it last? Your job as leader is to create an organization that is nimble, creative, and able to change quickly. How are you doing that? Do you have a plan?
Sometimes it’s hard to change the things we do, especially if we’ve been doing those things for a long time. But we have to be ready to make those changes – or that ‘long time’ will come to an end very quickly.