The Ultimate Competitive Advantage

You can have boundless energy, a really hot product, great pricing, solid staff, and a top-of-the-line Lexus in the CEO parking space, and still go down in flames.

If you want to succeed (long-term) as a leader, as a business, as a consultant – really, as a person – then there’s one thing you absolutely need to have. One huge advantage. And it’s something that we can ALL acquire. Clear vision.

It can be a process getting to 20/20 clarity – sometimes, a lot of “doing” is what gets you to better “seeing” – but when you know who you are, what you want, what your core competencies are, what your differentiator(s) are, and how to express all that – you’re way ahead of the game.

I have pathetic uncorrected vision – my glasses have always been pretty thick (yes, I still have Lasik envy – maybe someday…). Without clear sight I won’t recognize obstacles, or see opportunities; I’ll just bump into stuff. Have you seen a lot of businesses that behave like that? I have. They’re not on a well-defined course because the destination isn’t clear, nor is the pathway to get there.

Success starts with clear vision at the top – leaders who know what rabbit trails to avoid because they can see the destination, and they have a reasonably clear roadmap.

For quite some time, Kodak had a well-defined place in the market, and a successful business model. But when digital began to upend the need for film, it soon became evident that this company did not have a clear vision of how to re-make itself, how to navigate in a rapidly-evolving world that was doing a complete market makeover. Or, as discussed in last week’s chat, there’s Yahoo. What’s their vision? Does anyone know?

On the other end of the size scale, I see someone newly-laid-off from a client company who has hung out his/her shingle as a consultant, without a single differentiating anything in the company message. “We just do the usual stuff, so hire us” might as well be the company motto.

Will Work For Food may get you a little cash flow for a while. But a far clearer understanding of what you will work for – and why – is the ultimate competitive advantage.

Join us tonight (May 22nd) at 8 pm ET as we discuss Clarity in Leadership during #LeadershipChat on Twitter. Be sure you give a good read to the prep post written by my talented co-host, Lisa Petrilli, Every Leader’s Achilles Heel (great image on the blog post, btw!). We look forward to an enlightening conversation during The Fastest Hour on the Internet.

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Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Seeing 20/20 in 3-D

>> LeadershipChat: Transitions (yes, we are winding down LeadershipChat after this month!)

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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

9 Responses to The Ultimate Competitive Advantage

  1. Pingback: May Topics « Leadership Chat

  2. Tom Martin says:

    Steve,

    I often wonder if lack of clarity is always an output of not seeing or being afraid of taking the step towards that unique place you see.

    Did Kodak (any many more companies and small consultants that hang out shingles) really NOT see the future or was it just too scary and dangerous to pursue that future.

    It’s often hard for companies, consultants and such to take that first bold step towards a clear future that no one else sees — that category of 1 that we’d all ideally like to fill — but few of us have the strength to bet it all on black and then deal with the outcomes.

    Failure can bring great costs — losing ones material possessions, reputation, etc., — and while Kodak and others like Blockbuster show us that taking the “safe” road can be just as devastating as taking the riskier one — I think for most, safe still feels…. well safe.

    Won’t be able to join y’all tonight (as usual) but looking forward to seeing a transcript as this one really looks like a great convo.

    @TomMartin

    • Tom, it’s a very good point. Sometimes the fear and inertia may extinguish what could be the right direction to take. And your final point is the right antidote – slowly eroding into irrelevance is not an acceptable alternative!

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