Shutterstock-breakout“A company can outperform rivals only if it can establish a difference that it can preserve.”

– Michael Porter

We have all probably heard that in order to stand out and succeed, we must differentiate ourselves from our competitors. In most cases, this means you must rethink your business mission and culture, and make changes to drive it in a new direction. However, 75% of change projects fail or don’t last – why?

Because many are still using the old approach to competitive strategy, which simply does not work in today’s business world.  You must develop a strategy that delivers consistent, lasting results from the inside out – and that does not mean months of market surveys and competitor analysis. It means looking at the inner workings of the business itself.

The first thing to know about gaining a competitive advantage is that you must be willing to “go big or go home.” Do not go about creating an easy, pleases-everyone mission statement if you want to have any chance of winning. Decide what your organisation stands for, what it will do to accomplish its goals, and what it will NOT do to accomplish them This laser focus will help you begin to eliminate behaviors and processes that aren’t working.

Build goals with a little soul. Faceless goals that focus on numbers and investors do not spark the passions of your employees, and you need your organisation to run on the fuel of passion. Begin building goals based on company culture and behavior instead. Competitive strategy starts with PEOPLE, not numbers.

As a change is underway, it is vital that the leaders of an organisation clearly communicate the direction of the organisation to EVERYONE who is in it. Without a clear map, employees will easily become lost, confused, and disengaged in the work at hand. Your ship won’t go anywhere if everyone jumps off.

By focusing on the company from the inside out, standing up for your chosen goals and directions, and focusing on the people rather than the numbers, you begin to build a lasting culture of success in your organisation, and that is truly the only way to build a competitive strategy that works.

The most recent InnoFuture article, 6 Factors of a Successful Strategy, outlines six steps that leaders of an organisation can take to be sure they are focusing on core principles and human engagement. These tips will help you make 2013 your company’s year to shine.