Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema wrote about three fundamental strategies in their book “The Discipline of Market Leaders”. These are
OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE (to deliver quality, price and ease of purchase and use)
PRODUCT LEADERSHIP (creating the best products or services)
CUSTOMER INTIMACY (delivering what specific customers want)
and some assumptions are made within this framework
- You know your markets – this means you know what your customers want and how your competition will react
- Customers have the last word and will make the choice based on added value
- You as a business cannot be in control of all these strategies, so make sure you offer fair value in 2 and are leaders in the 3rd.
On paper, this all makes sense and is, by nature, a sound path to follow. There is one important construct that’s missing. The world of commerce is extremely fluid and can change quicker than you can say blackberry.
Let’s paint some scenarios to make the point tangible.
- You are an operational leader, but, from one day to the next, you were operational leader due to the introduction of new technology. Remember, we are assuming you know how your competition is going to react.
- You were offering product fair value, but no longer.
- While striving for operational excellence, you are no longer very intimate with your customers.
So, let’s say you are aware, but your organization cannot react in the pace required. Yes, you can be made non-competitive quicker than you can say Motorola.
Here is where agile can be a great help by enabling you to
- bring the customer into the requirements process
- ensure the entire organization takes responsibility for being competitive
- deploy – learn -improve
Of course, doing nothing is always an option. Change carries, by nature, certain risks. One shouldn’t forget that no action has it’s risks as well. Remember, obsolescence can take place quicker than you can say PanAm.
Even if you’re not sure, isn’t it worth you while to at least inquire what options are at your disposal?
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