If you live in the world of strategy long enough, you’ll begin to understand the concept of potential in a deeper way. It transcends operational barriers and competitive limitations. If you read enough case studies, you’ll come to learn that real vision combined with real leadership blows away every limitation we impose on ourselves. With appropriate imagination, ability to translate conceptual to real, and the skills to truly lead people, there’s really not much that you cannot do.
It starts with how big you think:
Do you play by the rules a bigger competitor defines OR -> Change the rules of competition within your industry?
Do you compete on the same value discipline as your competitor OR -> Differentiate so you’re no longer directly competing?
Do you seek to create a new feature that no one else has? OR -> Create a completely new market that no one else is even thought about?
Do you make an incremental improvement? OR -> Make your competition obsolete?
Do you change how your customers buy products? OR -> Change how the world uses your technology?
It can be done.
Having framed all that up, every leader within your organization is motivated in different ways, and to varying degrees. Some are out to change the world, others are out to maintain stability. We need all perspectives in the room to balance off the thinking, but a prevailing overall temperature will emerge as the pace to which your organization moves. If you consult, you’ll notice the temperature change so very clearly when you walk in the room. So the question becomes, for every client you work with, “how hard do you push this client to move to the next level?”
I’ve seen all kinds of consultants. Some blow sunshine because that’s what their clients want to hear. They don’t move the business forward, they just create a false sense of progress. Others tell the stark truth, and shine a light on opportunities for improvement. They’re not always welcome, but they are the only ones that are truly worth their rate. And most combine the two to some degree.
It is a unique blessing to live in the world of strategy all year long. It’s a world of opportunity, potential, seeing things from the highest level, and helping clients recognize specific opportunities for improvement.
Be close enough to your clients to understand their operational realities so you don’t lose touch.
Be objective enough so that you can still see opportunities that they don’t.
Always take your clients one step further, and accomplish this by educating.
Be patient, and recognize that there are reasons why your clients choose the pace they do.
Be a catalyst for change, and always shine a light on the next opportunity to improve.
There are few people who have the opportunity to impact the quality of corporate level direction, as most functions only consider progression at a functional level. This is why driving the greatest degree of continuous improvement possible is so important.