Winning in a time of major change demands an updated set of tactics and strategies. Just like football teams adjust their play calling each season and for each competitor, businesses need an updated “Playbook for Winning.”
Consider that a few years ago military planners recognized the number and nature of new threats were not only increasing, they were emerging from a new set of enemies who were leveraging modern communications technologies to prepare and execute their plans. The urgency for increased intelligence, rapid-response capabilities, and a more flexible and dynamic approach to organizing and focusing resources to respond gave rise to dramatic changes in every facet of our national defense. The new world of asymmetrical threats was born.
Business competition today presents similar asymmetrical threats. For instance, rapidly forming situational partnerships of multiple competitors have effectively unseated long-term suppliers. In some cases your suppliers and customers may even become your biggest competitive threat, as tightening financial conditions force them to find ways to lower costs and become more efficient.
At the same time, the fundamentals of communicating and persuading are changing. As Michael Maslansky points out in his book “The Language of Trust,” we are now in a “post-trust” era, in which once-respected authorities and market-share leaders no longer have the benefit of the doubt. Getting a message, any message, through is increasingly difficult, as prospects are assailed with a barrage of competing claims of superiority.
Tomorrow’s winners use positioning and communication tactics that open an honest dialogue with prospective customers and leverage new channels to get their message through. Instead of claiming superiority or a lower price, they make the customer feel in control. Building on the customers’ input, the winners collaboratively create value propositions that address unrealized needs in new ways, filling in real and perceived gaps in value from current suppliers.