Are you exploring trends that can give you that competitive advantage?
Senior leaders of organisations should consider spending less time on their SWOT and consider spending their time analysing their SWT that is their Strengths, Weaknesses and Trends. The trap that many leaders find themselves in is that they are immersed in their own industry myopia which a traditional SWOT analysis does not help with. The SWT analysis still allows leaders to keep in touch with their organisations strengths (to be promoted in the market place) and their weaknesses (to provide a focus for continuous improvement) but also forces them to look beyond their industry to track trends from around the world such as significant changes in technology, distribution, product innovation, markets and consumer and social developments with one question on their mind “can that trend be a game changer in our industry?”
In this day and age it’s not the competitor down the street that may cause you the biggest threat it is most likely going to be a company from a completely different industry that will disrupt yours. Do you think the airlines around the world were keeping an eye on Richard Branson when he had Virgin Records?
Move to another battlefield
As Kaihan Krippendorff author of Out Think the Competition notes, the best strategies are derived from those that ‘out think” their industry. One brilliant example of this is Autodesk known by many as the creators of AutoCad used world wide by architects and engineers to create 3 dimensional models of their projects. Autodesk have also been responsible for every single film over the last 15years that won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects and it has been reported that they hold as much of 60% market share in that industry. Using their software capabilities to serve two very different industries is nothing short of genius. Did the incumbent software companies that were currently serving the film industry see Autodesk coming, based on their current market share we would say not.
As leaders of your organisation you need to decide where your next battlefield will be, how can you leverage off of the current strengths, what is trending at present that you can potentially use to break away from your current battlefield and leave your competition fighting among themselves?