The competitiveness of your business is determined through the interaction of a range of agents that operate 24/7.365 with or without your influence. They set the ceiling and floor to your business’s performance and success. The strength of the core of this engine will determine how well your business emerges from, and succeeds in, post this economic pause; better that you are aware of its existence and properly influence its agents.
Active Knowledge Question:
During this economic pause, are you focused on strengthening the competitive fitness of your business?
What Does Competitiveness Look Like?
It’s About The Individual
Think of your favourite sports team. During their season, they go out each week and compete. They usually compete against teams that they know well, on grounds which they have played before, and with team members they train with almost daily.
In some matches, they will win convincingly and, others, they will be devastated by a team everyone expected they would beat. It’s not that they don’t have the level of playing skill to win; it’s just that it didn’t all come together on the day.
So why is it that on some days they can compete well and on others it just all falls apart?
Being competitive is about the ability to win and delivering on that outcome. And not just win once or twice but to consistently win, time and time again. As the old strategy saying goes, ‘The ability of a competitor to beat me is in my hands, not theirs’.
Now think of someone whom you consider one of the world’s greatest athletes.
What do you think distinguishes a great athlete in their respective sports? You could say it’s the medals they won, but I think there is more to it than just that. It has been their commitment to their sport and taking performance to another level, time and time again, over an extended number of years. They have trained so they can compete at a level that will allow them to win consistently. They have consistently strived to lift their level of performance.
Think now of your business and its teams and importantly, the individuals who comprise them. A winning team requires winning individuals who work together to leverage their combined strength. And a winning business requires winning teams who work together to leverage their combined strength. But it builds from the individual.
Every day of every week, they go out and compete, against the same players, in the same field, with the same team members, and chasing the same prize. It’s not just your sales team chasing sales, it is everyone in your business contributing to their fullest that allows your business to outcompete (or not) other businesses in your chosen market.
Competitiveness is about team and individual performance, constantly striving to improve their capacity and capability to win, time and time again. And in business, winning is about delivering greater customer value than anyone else.
In Business, On What Do We Compete?
Today, we compete around value – customer value. That is the value our customers believe they gain in buying from us. We can seek to define that value for our customers, but ultimately, it is how they perceive value that will be the determining attribute.
Our customers are more informed (and ill-informed) and more equipped to choose and change whom they buy from today than ever before. Many diverse agents influence their preferences. Their needs are constantly evolving and impacted, again, by many diverse agents.
In our competitive landscapes, technology has, and is, continuing to dismantle barriers to create an open global marketplace for all players. Resourcing and workforce capability continue to be more ‘open source’, and incumbency can, at many times, be a greater disadvantage than advantage.
Competitiveness is the ability of your business to deliver on the strategies that are necessary at that time to win. Winning is all about delivering greater value than anyone else to the community you serve. It is about adaptability and agility but, more importantly, it is about identifying decisively where that greater value lies tomorrow.
Being decisive is not catching up. Being decisive is setting the rules of the game and moving on before competitors even know the game has changed. I describe this trait as being competitively fit, and it is driven by the competitive engine that exists in every business.
In this time of economic pause where your team members are operating remotely, you cannot afford to lessen the competitive fitness of your business, in fact, it is a time to strengthen it, so you are ready to race once the pause is lifted.
The Competitive Engine
There exists an engine in your business, whether you recognise it or not, that sets the floor and ceiling to its competitiveness and success. Recognise it, understand it and learn how to influence it. And that will allow you to take the performance of your business to an entirely new level.
The competitive engine in your business consists of ten interdependent elements grouped into three sets:
These elements determine more than anything else in your business its performance, success and future prosperity. And whilst you will recognise their names, what is important is to understand their ‘right character’, interaction and how to influence them.
Today we are examining the core as it is this set of elements that are vital to your business’s competitive fitness. Much the same as the core muscles of your physical body if the core of your competitive engine is weak, then your entire business will be weakened.
The core is central to the strength of your competitive engine. If any of its elements are weakened, it will undermine the performance of your entire business. Each element should be maintained, so it is in perfect health.
Looking briefly at each element of the core:
- Leadership provides the moral value and strength of purpose of a business. For any business to enjoy continual success it must have worthy leaders throughout its business. Worthy leadership lies in character.
- Purpose is the cornerstone and reference point for the existence of your business. Real competitive strength lies in that purpose, and everything else builds upon it. Purpose reveals opportunities, ensures alignment, and a compounding of effort. Purpose is founded in meeting customer needs. Purpose and motive go hand-in-hand, and profit-first should not be your motive if you want to optimise performance and maximise profit.
- Your business is nothing more than the sum of all the people who work within and with it. Its competitive success is derived from the combined strength of its people. Engage with them well, and your business will be successful. But fail to build trust and engagement, and your business will never achieve its potential.
- A vision is exciting, enticing, and challenging. Visions inspire. They draw everyone participating in a business together and provide a shared common goal to move forward. Visions are the glue that binds and the energy that propel businesses forward. Your vision is your quest.
- Culture is who your business is if it were a person. It includes its personality, traits and attitude. Culture allows your business to do some things well and others poorly. It must be crafted to support your purpose as a business and to enable it to compete to its greatest capability.
Actions to lift performance:
To influence the competitive performance of your business, you must be able to influence the elements of your competitive engine:
- Leadership is from the centre. It rests in character, which regulates motive. Humility and gratitude are the foundation stones. They allow the greatest potential to be realised.
- Purpose forms the cornerstone of your business’s future. It is founded in customer need and provides an enduring window for future growth and opportunities.
- If you do not establish the right cornerstone as to why your business exists, it will never achieve its potential.
- Motive is everything. What’s yours? What ceiling to your success have you set?
- Your business is everyone working within and with it. Competitiveness requires trust and engagement. Engage human potential through:
- Our vision – Our quest. A journey I must be part of. It is our future and that of our customers in the making.
- Culture is who your business is. Culture is crafted to make your business who it needs to be to succeed.
At this time of economic pause, you must ensure you strengthen your competitive fitness as a business and do not allow ‘distance and separation’ to weaken its ability to outcompete all others in your chosen marketplace.
An entirely new level of performance.
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All the best in the success of your business,