Monday, June 10, 2013

Competitive Landscape Changes

Recently, I was talking with a management team and initiating a discussion about the focus for the next year. We started with why the business exists, and exists in this particular place. We talked about the employee perspective on what they would say were the strategic imperatives. We talked about their perspectives. We talked about the financial goals, and how success might be measured. We also talked about the marketplace perspective, and what makes this organization unique and what its advantages might be.

That morning there was news that was expanding. They were utilizing their logistics expertise to get into the grocery business. They had been piloting it in certain locations--probably near their distribution centers. The news seemed to indicate that they thought they were ready to expand the service to more areas, if not nationwide. The obstacle of perishable foods being delivered quickly enough was mentioned with the likelihood that Amazon has overcome any problems related to it. "Might still be a problem with ice cream" was one comment though.

This was just an example of how the competitive landscape can change quickly. Grocery stores probably thought they were safe from the logistics monster like Amazon for a few more years, that the obstacles were just too big for it to enter their market yet. No business can think that the competition will 'never' come into its territory. "Where there's a will, there's a way" means that competitors will find a way to capture revenue in your area if you're not continually improving, growing and developing new ways to exceed customers' expectations.

Looking at all of this was a way for this organization to reevaluate the 'one thing' that would define success for them 'today' and determine what their 'critical number' is and to what they should align their organization's activities and projects and budgets. (Check out Great Game of Business for more info on how to do this analysis.)

[Because of the kind of organization, we also talked about God's perspective thinking about Psalm 20.7: "Some nations boast in their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord." A paraphrase might be: "some organizations boast in their products and expertise but we boast in __________." How would success for our organization look from God's eyes? What is critical to our organization's existence and why we are here?]

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