You have a Strategic Position in Every Challenge you Face!, if you do not know it... Your Opponent will Win!
"What is your strategic position?"
What is your Strategic Position?
You have a position in every situation you face... if you don’t know it.. then it is simply a position swinging in the air.
Nevertheless, when others who understand strategy meet you... they will know your strategic position and will be ready to overtake you in any challenge with them.
Is this a mystery to you? Well it was for me and for a very long time... till life forced me to learn, understand... and reverse my fortune!
Your strategic position is never strong or weak... it is only strong or weak in relation to something or someone else.
Any strategic position has five elements that define it.
- The Mission
- The Climate
- The Ground
- The Leadership
- The Methods
Let us take my strategic position in setting up my business as a public speaker... (I am not bragging... it is currently the only position that I know very well... so bear with me)
My "wish" or vision in life is to become independent advisor and public speaker.
In choosing my mission, the question arises on whether I position myself as a Strategy Expert or a Sun Tzu Art of War strategy expert.
Analysing my mission “realistically” and comparing myself with other "strategy experts" and "art of war experts".
I discovered that as a strategy expert I will never see the light of day in the market place compared to the Harvard professors and management consulting firms who are entrenched in the ground of their market.
Positioning myself as an Art of War Strategy expert... I found that my competition is now reduced to handful of high quality teachers scattered worldwide...
I also discovered that my understanding of Sun Tzu Art of War came before my desire to teach it and that I have an advantage above the others in that I practiced it for 15 years with great results.
Further, by defining my mission as a Sun Tzu strategy expert and especially in negotiation (being my life’s work) leave me almost alone as leader in this market...
The above analysis is rational and pragmatic without self-delusion or deceiving oneself.
The second consideration about defining my Mission is understanding what connect me with the people I wish to serve.
It is not good just saying that my mission is to become independent public speaker in order to be rich, happy and healthy.... I guess this “wish” is best placed in the realm of vision.
In business, my mission now is very clear:
Is to speak about Sun Tzu the Art of War Strategy to help others avoid 20 years of painful trial and error in life before reaching the success they desire.
After all, I have always believed, it is much more pleasurable to enjoy one’s success while still reasonably young.
Also clarifying your strategic mission will help you determine what is needed to accomplish your goals.
I was in a taxi going to Heathrow airport the other day.
The taxi driver is a good friend of mine. He was asking my about strategy and what it means, after seeing my web site.
I explained to him the idea of strategic position and the mission.
I asked him about his mission in his taxi business.
He said that he wants to be the best taxi company in Alton.
I asked him about how this mission differentiates him from others or connect him to people of Alton?
He did not know...
I suggested that he might consider something else...
Something along the line of "My taxi firm will be an enjoyable and reliable part of any person in Alton going to a holiday abroad and need in a pleasant and reliable airport ride".
If he was going to focus on "school runs" for example, his mission could be " my taxi firm will provide the most reliable, secure and safe way to take children to school every day".
With this simple explanation of mission, the man was stunned.
He immediately started to think differently....
(I might add.. that he got very excited about the potential of thinking this way, he nearly lost his way to the airport while I had a flight to catch... we all live to learn.. I guess...)
He started to think that his website would have to change to give information about distances and traffic conditions to the airport at different days, schedule flight timing etc.
He began to think that he will now need more taxis and will position himself to be a secure, reliable and pleasant part of any one from Alton going on holiday abroad. He immediately clarified in his mind the type of car he will need to accomplish his mission. When someone books him for the airport, he will ask different questions and respond by giving tips and hints to his client about travel.
Mission is what connect all the elements of strategy together, and with the people. Without a clear and correct mission, we are only serving someone else's mission and not our own.
FinallyThe mission is what unify or create unity between the leader of the business, the people working in business and the customers.
It is not good enough to create a mission stating that you will be the best company in this sector or another. A mission is much more serious than that.
President Kennedy during his visit to NASA bumped into a “cleaner” in one of the corridors... he asked him “What do you do here?” The man replied “Mr President... I am putting a man on the moon”. Well now this is an organisation with a mission.
the leadership of the organisation, its workers and the country at large are simply united in one mission.
If their mission were to create the fastest and biggest Shuttle for example or to be the slickest organisation on the face of the earth, then it would not have had a mission.
There are probably thousands of organisations that we never heard or will hear about that have such a mission.
We really only hear about organisation whose mission is to put a “man on the Moon”.
The climate is about “What is changing” that is creating an opportunity for your business and the timing for suitability to all involved, employees and customers.
Climate is what generally gives a strategy an edge and where all opportunities flow from, created and sustained.
In an age of fast communication and the global village, climate has changed for example in the travel industry.
Cheaper and cheaper means of travelling needed to be created. Easy Jet and others rushed into exploiting the opportunity and created empires.
Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay and the rest saw a similar climate change and jumped at the opportunity to create their own empires.
What is changing?; is your source of creating a business to succeed and flourish.
Are you watching closely?
The Ground is where you chose to compete.
There is difficult ground and an easy one; there is intersected ground and a dangerous one.
Chose your ground and where to compete wisely.
Chose the ground where your strength matches your competitors’ weakness.
Thus creating a competitive advantage that you will certainly need in order to win.
New grounds are being created every day.
The Internet and the World Wide Web did not exist 10 years ago.
Now Google in mere 7 years of operation is getting bigger and more profitable than HSBC Bank or Bank of America.
With a $160 billion capitalisation of this giant of a company, we could all learn one or two things about planning and strategy.
Find new and easy ground to compete.
Find the ground where customers cannot afford a particular expensive service of one kind or another and offer them perhaps lower quality of the same service but affordable one.
Always remember that when the PC started to appear, any secretary at the time could type faster on the Typewriter than on the 8080 PC Chip.
Desktop photocopier, where no match to the large copiers when they were first introduced, but people liked the convenience of the desktop copier and a revolution was in the making.
This is called “disruptive innovation” that you need to study and understand well.
Just “Google” the term “disruptive innovation" and you will be on your way.
Get your leadership fundamentals right in order that your people and the customers to follow you:
- Caring Concern for the people and the customers
- Intelligence So that you see the opportunity and the changing climate
- Courage that you take actions to capitalize on opportunities
- Discipline Tough but fair to manage the business
- Trustworthiness So that your people and customers can trust and follow you
The Method is the art that you apply to your business?
Strategy, IT Systems, Processes, Sales and Marketing tactics, Are all in the realm of Methods that your business needs to get right from the outset.
Having defined your mission, everything else will fall into place and no longer will you find creating a sales strategy or marketing one such a difficult arena.
Finally, when your score exceeds that of your competitors in all the five elements, you are on a sure road to winning big time in your business and in your life.
All be it, now after you understand strategic position, it is time for you to learn strategy in order to manoeuvre your way to success and advance your current business and life position to new heights.
But this is another story. Let us get your strategic position right first.
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