How to Outmaneuver the Competition

By Jeffrey Phillips and Alex Verjovsky Apr 13, 2016

outmaneuver.jpgYou’ve heard the saying “fighting the last war.” It refers to competing using familiar techniques, against competitors you’ve faced before, in the same markets or industries, only to discover that the rules have changed.

Modern business competition is changing rapidly, and to compete effectively, you need to understand the skills that are required to win.

Our new book, Outmaneuver: OutThink, Don’t OutSpend (Xlibris, 2016), describes the strategies you need to compete in the emerging new market and the kinds of people and skills that will help you compete.

What we see now is a demand for more speed, more agility and more innovation because the competitive landscape is shifting. Maneuver strategy seeks to win by building competitive insights, taking valuable positions before competitors recognize them and attacking competitors in areas of recognized weakness. The goal is to win the most at the least possible cost, understanding that slow and steady no longer wins the race.

To successfully meet these requirements and others, maneuver strategy requires new skills and capabilities, including:

  • The ability to move quickly and decisively, using speed in two dimensions: planning speed and execution speed.
  • The ability to shift course, act nimbly and demonstrate agility.
  • The ability to gather and interpret information about customers, markets and competitors.
  • The ability to move quickly and quietly to valuable new positions.
  • The ability to communicate clearly and accurately as new needs evolve or circumstances change.
  • The ability to delegate effectively. Agility and speed require delegation.
  • The ability to understand new needs and innovate new solutions.

Maneuver strategy demands a new kind of thinking but, more importantly, a new kind of workforce. Does your existing workforce have the skills to compete as markets, competitors and consumers create rapidly changing conditions? Does it have the ability to develop and interpret competitive insights and draw conclusions about emerging opportunities? Can it move quickly and decisively to new conclusions? Does it have the ability to change direction quickly? Does your workforce communicate effectively and clearly in order to delegate responsibility quickly and effectively? Does your workforce have the capability to innovate consistently?

Speed, agility and innovation provide maneuverability, but only when the critical resources of an organization—its people—are able to perform. Is your workforce ready to compete in an entirely new way? If not, you may find your company’s market share and profits eroding, and you may face being hit by dramatic disruption.

Jeffrey Phillips, @ovoinnovation on Twitter, leads OVO Innovation, an innovation consulting company in Raleigh, N.C. Alex Verjovsky is a consultant, an entrepreneur and a pioneer in the biodiesel market. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s Business School. Combined, they have over 50 years of practical business experience working as consultants to Fortune 500 corporations and as entrepreneurs.

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