Archive for Strategy

In a difficult situationKodak ignored digital photography. IBM ignored the PC. The major PC manufacturers ignored Dell. The PC industry ignored Apple. The publishing industry ignored on-demand-print and electronic readers. An online book store? Really?

The threat was present but not taken seriously. Why would a consumer change their behavior?

While the “giants” were focused on their strengths and opportunities, enterprising people exploited their weaknesses, created their own opportunity and disrupted the industry. Some giants weathered the storm. Others are no longer in business.

We’ve been told to focus on our strengths, accentuate the positive. It’s natural. It’s easy. It’s dangerous.

wotWeaknesses and threats are not negatives to be swept under the rug.

They represent an opportunity for innovation. That’s how your competition sees them.

Weakness exposes a threat which can be turned into an opportunity. The opportunity once realized exposes new weakness.

Shift your perspective.

Take a look at your company’s or department’s weaknesses as though you’re the competition.


  1. What do your customers really care that you do well? This is part of your strategic advantage. If you’re not doing it as well as they would like, they might be ready to jump ship.
  2. Is there something that you do that unintentionally causes them pain?
  3. What do your customers wish you did better?
  4. What do you do well that your customers don’t care about? Can you eliminate it to reduce cost without reducing quality or service?
  5. Are there alternatives, another way of producing the same result as your product or service? Is there technology on the horizon that could create an alternative?
  6. In the chain of buyers (purchasers, users, influencers), is someone being neglected? If their needs are not being met, they can influence others to try something new.
  7. Who are the non-customers in your industry? Why are they non-customers? Are they a large enough segment that your competition could gain momentum?
  8. How can the competition take advantage of the situation?

How can you prevent that from happening? Borrowing from Illuminate by David Corbin:

⇒ Face it – If you answered those 8 questions, you know the threat is there.

⇒ Follow it – What is happening? Do you have a process for periodically reviewing trends and your strategy?

⇒ Fix it – Take action. “The enemy diversion you have been ignoring will be the main attack.”[i]

Your competition may not exist today. They may be just over the horizon awaiting their perfect storm of opportunity. Weakness creates opportunity. The only question is who will benefit?

To schedule a complimentary conversation, visit ChatWithLeslie.

[i] 21 Brutal Rules of Warfare from Actual Soldiers

Categories : Strategy
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