Competing on How

Most employees  know about the products, services and markets in which their company competes …But most employees do not know HOW their companies compete, nor do they understand HOW they personally fit into that form of competition. A guiding question might be:

What Decisions, Actions, and Outcomes that I affect influence the competitive advantage of my company?

I call this the DAO Framework.  It sounds surprising like TAO, and for good reason.

Lots of companies compete in the same markets: consumer electronics, hand-held devices, mobile phones, smart phones, etc.  But the ways in which they compete can vary substantially.  The classical field of business strategy says that companies usually compete on either price (economies of scale, and low cost operations or materials such as Walmart)… Or they compete on product differentiation (innovation, design, and predicting the preferences of consumers’ tastes such as Apple in recent years)…. Or they compete on efficiency and process, often measured by cycle time and / or cost, since the two are intertwined with combinations of speed/cost/price can vary even within the product (or service) line.  Here I cite: FedEx, UPS, USPS, Southwest Airlines, which are familiar to vast audience internationally.

But hidden beneath these “Brand communications messages” which are publicly apparent in advertising, editorials, and popular culture as well as business school case studies —  are the mechanisms of orchestration and human potential and its fit to the organizational structure, hiring, management and policy.  It is here where the HOW meets the WHY.   It is here that the dynamic capabilities of the organization are formed, nurtured and evolved.   These aspects of how challenge the astute operational and analytical minds to create and put in place those metrics and processes which lead to alignment and the amplification and focus of the “HOW”.

The “HOW” is the link from education, communications to alignment, and with some hope into competitive advantage.