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Beyond Normal

Ron Kranz - Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Creating the new competitive advantage

The world has changed. The economy has changed. Our business has changed. It always has, always will, and will do so at a faster rate. Thinking has changed.

The thousand years comprising the Agricultural Age, gave way to a few hundreds of years defining the Industrial Age, which over the last five decades has become the Information Age. Defined by globalization, continued advancing technology, and a new talent base, the transformation to a new age has begun. The marketplace has changed.

Businesses are no longer competing among the 300,000 Puget Sound companies; nor do they compete among 27 million national businesses. Businesses now compete among the 65 million global enterprises. Competition has never been greater, the war for outstanding talent is now global, and customers are demanding more value at less cost. Competition for customers and talent has changed.

Under the current business models, it is projected that 75% of all privately held businesses will not increase in value over the next five years. Over the last three years, the average annual increase in US business bankruptcy filings is 38%. Bankruptcy statistics do not account for mergers/acquisitions like those needed to save the banking/financial industry. Business has changed.

Welcome to the Conceptual Age. Where the world population grows to 8 billion, with 50% residing in Asia. Where highly educated knowledge workers are a commodity -not a competitive advantage. Where automation advances become equivalent to the compilation power of the human brain. Where the abundance lifestyle is a global desire and is no longer exclusive to western culture. Welcome to the age where the competitive advantage is a new and different way of doing business.

The competitive advantage in the Conceptual Age will belong to those businesses that can re-invent themselves, who can convert tacit knowledge of their employees into tangible assets, who have a razor-sharp focus on what they do best, and develop innovative ways of linking value chain suppliers to customers. Re-conceptualization of business leads to the competitive advantage. The way of doing business has changed.

The world has changed. The time has come to do business differently. The competitive advantage will belong to those who think differently. The thinking -about business- has changed.

Thinking differently produces unthinkable results. How are you thinking differently?

Beyond Luck

Ron Kranz - Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How to manufacture favorable circumstances

You know the saying, ‘it’s about being in the right place at the right time’. Luck is on your side when the stars are aligned putting you in the ‘right place at the right time’. I am tired of waiting for the stars to become aligned, are you?

What is luck anyway?

The dictionary defines luck as a ‘force that makes things happen’. It is about favorable circumstances that present opportunity. But we need to be ready and prepared to seize those opportunities. When we are prepared and the opportunity presents itself, we are said to be “lucky”.

Luck is where opportunity (favorable circumstances) intersects preparedness (readiness). You have probably heard this definition before. The ‘force that makes things happen’ is about the energy to create opportunity and to be prepared.

Do you have the energy to manufacture luck? I suspect so. I know I do. Well, if we have the energy, then the limiting factor to creating luck must be the know-how. Let’s think about this.

A business opportunity could be described as consisting of four elements:

  1. A need (circumstance)
  2. Having a methodology to fulfill that need (intellectual preparedness)
  3. A process to apply the method (delivery preparedness), and...
  4. A capacity to perform (resource preparedness).

Based on this analysis, the only element outside of our control is the need - the needs of our potential customer or client. So luck must center on the need, which is about creating favorable circumstances.

So if we understood the needs of our customers we could create favorable circumstances.

So the next question becomes, how do we find potential customers with - the need?