By David Friedman, CEO, High Performing Culture, LLC
Have you noticed that it’s harder than ever before to truly differentiate yourself? Whether you boast your innovative folding carton designs or sustainable solutions or unbeatable speed to market, doesn’t it seem like your competitors are saying the same things about themselves?
If you have a hunch that your prospects and current customers think you’re pretty much like everyone else, you’re probably right. And when customers can’t figure out what makes anyone different, they buy strictly on price, and none of us want to be in that kind of market!
So, how is it that some companies manage to stand out year after year in industries that are mostly commoditized? When you examine the research, you find that companies don’t win in commoditized environments because of what they offer. No, they win because of how they offer it. It’s the experience their people are able to create that makes all the difference.
It’s easy to copy
You see, whatever manufacturing capability or service you offer that you think separates you from the pack can usually be copied pretty easily. And if it’s really good, you can bet your competitors will indeed copy it—usually in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost that it took you to create it!
Product and service innovation is just the price of admission to be in the game. But unless you’re the next Apple, it’s simply not a sustainable strategy for continued differentiation.
But if you could somehow find a way to get your people to be different than your competitors’ people, to perform in different ways and at a different level, to create those different experiences, not only would that be your biggest opportunity for competitive advantage, but it would be your biggest opportunity for a sustainable competitive advantage. Because even when your competitors know that you’re winning because of your people, it’s a formula they simply won’t be able to copy.
It’s all about your culture
Getting your people to be different is all about your culture. It’s about the way things get done in your organization. Done right, it becomes part of the fabric of how you operate, part of your company’s very DNA.
When you understand this, you begin to see that working on your culture is not an HR topic. Quite the opposite – it’s a financial and strategic topic. In fact, it’s one of the most important things you can do to create a sustainable competitive advantage. And what’s more critical to your future than that?
Perhaps it’s time to be more intentional about your culture. I help companies do just that every day, and I’m thrilled to be able to help you during PPC’s Spring Meeting in Baltimore. I’ll be leading a full-morning workshop on Friday, April 13, to show you exactly how you can create a high-performing culture within your organization…one that separates you from the pack. I hope to see you in Baltimore.