What if everything you were taught about creating and sustaining competitive advantage is no longer true? Most leaders of well-established businesses were taught that the key to creating sustainable competitive advantage was erecting large barriers to entry into their markets by scaling the size and reach of their companies.
Most senior leaders find comfort in believing that in times of severe market downturns cutting costs and hunkering down is a prudent course of action. The trouble is the data supports the totally opposite course of action.
Historically companies believed they could create sustainable competitive advantage by owning and controlling the assets needed to build high barriers to entry into their markets.
Last year, a McKinsey study documented that companies spent more than $1.3 trillion on digital transformations 70% of which failed to reach their desired outcomes which means that over $900 billion went to waste.
For businesses of any size to be successful today, they need to think and act like a software company. Whether they are actually developing software or just deploying and leveraging it, they need to configure their business model to operate like one.
The frequency and pace of change from digital disruption necessitates that companies can no longer rely on traditional planning and decision-making models. Simply put, they are too slow, too rigid and too process-driven to adapt to the new speed of business.
Michael Simmons has an unbridled passion for teaching people how to learn. In his work with successful leaders he has come to the following conclusion: “At the highest levels, learning isn’t about something you do to prepare for work. Learning is the most important work. It is the core competency to build. It’s the things you never delegate. And it’s one of the ultimate drivers of long-term performance and success.”
To successfully compete as a digital enterprise requires starting at the top with the CEO and Board agreeing on the right digital strategy for the company and a game plan to implement it. That is virtually impossible to do if the majority of board members are not digitally savvy.
Talk to anyone working today whether in a startup or a well-established Fortune 500 company, and they will tell you the same thing – “I’m working so hard but there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do my job.” It’s not just that they are spending more hours working, but it’s also that…
It’s hard to argue that the speed and diversity of disruptive digital technologies doesn’t present a potential existential threat to companies of all sizes across all industries. While many organizations are still struggling to come to grips with this new competitive reality, many other are rushing off in multiple directions with multiple initiatives trying to get ahead of them or fend them off.
Wild Oak Enterprises, LLC
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