Supporting your Competitive Advantage is what is known as Competitive Enabling work. These are the tasks and activities that enable the competitive work.
McDonalds Competitive Advantage:
Get it Fast, Get It The Same
So when you think about McDonald's, what's McDonald's competitive advantage? Get it fast, get it the same. It's available everywhere. You can go to Hong Kong or San Diego or Sydney, and your Big Mac is pretty much going to be the same.
McDonalds Competitive Enabling: Systems
What we know with McDonald's is it's all about being fast and being consistent, which they drive through rigid adherence to systems.
Now the public doesn't necessarily care about their systems. But it is these very systems that are in play at McDonald's that ensure that customers get it fast and get it the same.
So when your Competitive Enabling work is done well, that then ensures that your competitive advantage plays out in the marketplace.
Nordstroms Competitive Enabling:
Information and Inventory, Hiring and Training
For example, with Nordstrom's, their information and inventory systems need to be designed in such a way that someone purchasing an off inventory item doesn't break the system or create havoc for management systems.
Their hiring and training systems could either be considered Competitive or Competitive Enabling work. But these activities are essential to ensuring that customers get what they expect when they visit a Nordstrom store: Exceptional customer care.
For example, instead of being given a vague wave of an arm with, "Oh, it's over there somewhere" when you ask someone where to find something, in a Nordstrom, the team member will escort you to where you want to go.
Now, that level of service comes from Nordstroms competitive and competitive enabling systems.
So can you see how these two activities above the line, we have to be exceptional at, both individually and as an organization, if we want to excel in the marketplace?
How clear is your company's competitive advantage to everyone in the team?
So I want you to start to think about your company's competitive advantage and how clear that is to everyone.
Quality vs Innovation and Sustainability??
Recently I was introducing this concept on a webinar series, and one of the participants said to me that her company's competitive advantage was quality. Yet when I looked at their website, quality was not what was front and center in their marketing materials.
If you were coming to this website for the first time, not really knowing too much about this company, you'd think that sustainability and innovation is how they're differentiating themselves. In fact, their values don't even mention the word quality. So when I spoke with her the following week about my findings, she was shocked.
She was like, "Whaaat?"
Because as far as she was concerned, their management's primary focus is on quality. Because that's what they spoke about in most meetings and expected people to deliver.
Can you see how that can be really confusing and send mixed messages to both customers and employees alike?
Don't get too strung up about differentiating between competitive and competitive enabling
Now in terms of differentiating between competitive and competitive, enabling work, don't get too caught up.
But basically the competitive work is the work that the customer sees and cares about. And the competitive enabling work is the work that kind of goes on behind the scenes that enables the customer to see and feel that you're delivering what they expect of you.
Competitive = customer sees and cares about
Competitive Enabling = Behind the Scenes
What is it that your customer relies on you to deliver, and how are you and your team focused on that?
As we know, all corporations have limited resources and they're going to spend money in business units where they think they're going to get their best bang for their buck.
You need to be able to show that you and your team are highly focused on supporting the deliverance of your company's competitive advantage.
So, it's over to you. I want you to start thinking about what differentiates your company in the marketplace.
Next, we're going to look at Business Essentials. So have a bit of a think about what we've covered so far and then I'll see you in the next lesson.
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