Jack Welsh once said: “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.”
Organizations that ‘get it’ have a clear competitive advantage. They know what they are good at. They know why customers buy from. They have laser beam focus on their excellence.
Beyond Competitive Advantage
An organization’s Distinctive Advantage is what sets them apart from the competition. Just as you cannot personally be all things to all people, truly great organizations are focused in on one factor to give them their competitive advantage.
Distinctive Advantage “Excellence” can be found from choosing one of the four possible areas of focus for an organization. They are as follows:
- Customer Experience. Organizations have become truly great at knowing their clients inside and out. Their competitive advantage is being able to anticipate the needs of their customers and providing value to them that aligns with their own distinctive advantage in the marketplace. Think Virgin Airways, Hyatt Hotels, Starbucks and Disney.
- Operational Quality. Organizations have become truly great at being able to provide their customers with the best price quality in their market. Quality focused organizations like Toyota, GE and Rolex make their entire marketing communications, sales and manufacturing process replicable with end to end processes to ensure a predictable quality outcome in their products.
- Operational Efficiency. By developing very detailed processes that cover everything they do from sales to invoicing, Operational Efficient companies have been able to squeeze out costs from virtually every aspect of the business. Wal-Mart, Costco and McDonalds are among the world leaders in driving cost out of their business, passing those savings on to their customers and giving their customers a consistent experience anywhere in the world.
- Product Innovator. Organizations have become truly great at providing their customers with the latest technology in products or services. This advanced product or service edge that they deliver to their customers provides value to clients that need to have the fastest and most advanced. Product Innovator companies have huge R&D budgets and are looking to the future as product or service innovations only last as long as the next “Copy Cat” arrives on the market. Apple is probably the very best example in this category.
If you think for a second that you can master more than one distinctive excellence, you are destined for mediocrity. Pick your greatness and stay focused on that. Use the other three competitive advantage points to support your greatness.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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, Business Strategy
, Strategic Planning