If you are on level 5 – your goal for your business is to move up a rung or two.
Academic texts when examining and finding examples of sustainable competitive advantage present two schools of thought. On the one hand there are academics who argue it is about the constant refinement of the resources that you bring to bear on products or services. This is an inward-looking task.
Others however, believe that it is better reflected in the constant scrutiny for opportunities. Therefore, it is an outward looking task.
Finding and building competitive advantage.
Let’s assume we can find time to do both tasks … to look for constant refinement of our systems and processes and also – to keep an eye on the external environment in which we operate.
Here is the activity tip – irrespective of your position in this debate, take the view from the helicopter…. You have heard it before – work on the business, not in it. Constant scrutiny is essential – you have to look into that cascading river of data (called the information age) that flows around you.
If you accept this – here now are a few tips on how to recognise the relevant data permitting you to disregard the rest.
The areas I have observed where people have found opportunities are not complex at all: The winners I have worked with simply found the causes and or the sources of change before any-one else did.
All change creates movement – it is the unexpected and unanticipated sets of outcomes that are important. Therefore, accepting that change occurs and being alert to change – creates value. The things you need to be alert for include – political, economic and social change, technological, environmental and legal issues. Taking advantage of change that impacts your business creates value. Not taking advantage of change – destroys value.
It is a fact that all our internal steps can be tweaked, improved, made simple. Just as truthful is that all processes are vulnerable to being impacted by both internal and external events. People and processes need to be evolutionary. Being alert to the cause and effect relationship of systems and processes; being driven to constantly simplify “process” pursuant to events or change … provides competitive advantage and value.