Monday, June 29, 2015

The first question to ask about strategy

Are you a strategy competition guy?
Do you know the first question to ask about competitive strategy?

Roger Martin says this:
I look at the core strategy choices and ask myself if I could make the opposite choice without looking stupid .... The point is this: If the opposite of your core strategy choices looks stupid, then every competitor is going to have more or less the exact same strategy as you. That means that you are likely to be indistinguishable from your competitors

Well, that's certainly something to check yourself about: is a counter strategy or corollary stategy "stupid"? If so, no one is going to adopt it, and so everyone -- yourself included -- will line up with your strategy. What then is your competitive discriminator? After all, "me too" is not all that compelling.

Thus, the search is on:
  • A strategy with a compelling discriminator
  • A strategy that has a plausible alternative, less compelling, but nonetheless one that your competition could align with
I can't tell you how many business development sessions I've been in where the only thing the sales people (or marketing) can come up with is "me too". How does that win you any business?
Somehow, in the manner of Kano, you need to come up with the "Ah hah!"

And, is there a formula approach to "Ah hah!"? Not that I've ever found. The epiphany just happens, but mostly it happens with a lot of people interacting with high entropy: lots of disorder from which something gells.  It just happens!

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