Betterness

Betterness

I have always been interested in better-ness. Improvements that make things better than they are and what does this betterness mean? Statistically, Brazil dominated Germany in the recent semi final, they had more possession and they completed more passes yet they lost 7 – 1. Back in 2001 England beat Germany 5-1 and Germany decided to overhaul their entire footballing system and are the dominant force in the world game.

The statistic on which they centred their change programme and one that is starting to be used in other improvement programmes is time on the ball or the completion rate. When England beat Germany, Germany spent on average around 3.4 seconds on the ball (the time each player had control of the ball). When Germany beat Brazil they spent less than a second.

When we recognise change is needed we must focus on one key benchmark at a time and build a programme of improvements around it. Defining that benchmark is where the real skill lies. It is the single most important thing that is core to all decision making.

By reducing their time on the ball the German FA had created a core that affected everything else. Players needed greater skill, they needed to operate in more confined spaces, they had to think faster and read the game better, they had to be fitter and show more fortitude and mental resilience.

The alchemy and dark art of any consultant is to identify that key change champion. The one thing that will define all other changes. The one thing that will lead to success. They didn’t ask the players, they didn’t ask the manager, they asked consultant analysts to impartially study where wrongness starts and to replace it with a programme of betterness.

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Ethical Market Research

Ethical Market Research

Competitive analysis is a statement of the business strategy and how its strategy relates to that of the competition. The purpose of the competitive analysis is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your market, strategies that will provide you with a distinct advantage, the barriers that can be developed in order to prevent competition from entering your market, and any weaknesses that can be exploited within the product development cycle.

The first step in a competitor analysis is to identify the current and potential competition. There are essentially two ways you can identify competitors. The first is to look at the market from the customer’s viewpoint and group all your competitors by the degree to which they compete for the buyer’s money. The second method is to group competitors according to their various competitive strategies so you understand what motivates them.

Grouping your competitors allows you to analyse their strategies and identify the areas where they are most vulnerable. This can be done through an examination of your competitors’ weaknesses and strengths. A competitor’s strengths and weaknesses are usually based on the presence and absence of key assets and skills needed to compete in the market.

Through your competitor analysis, you will also have to create a marketing strategy that will generate an asset or skill competitors do not have, which will provide you with a distinct and enduring competitive advantage. Since competitive advantages are developed from key assets and skills, you should sit down and put together a competitive strength grid. This is a scale that lists all your major competitors or strategic groups based upon their applicable assets and skills and how your own company fits on this scale.

To put together a competitive strength grid, list all the key assets and skills down the left margin of a piece of paper. Along the top, write down two column headers: “weakness” and “strength.” In each asset or skill category, place all the competitors that have weaknesses in that particular category under the weakness column, and all those that have strengths in that specific category in the strength column. After you’ve finished, you’ll be able to determine just where you stand in relation to the other firms competing in your industry.

Once you’ve established the key assets and skills necessary to succeed in this business and have defined your distinct competitive advantage, you need to communicate them in a strategic form that will attract market share as well as defend it.

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Ethos, Pathos & Logos

Many of the founding generations of any organisation can find themselves locked into ethos based thinking where the integrity of the original model is paramount and above any other consideration. Any organisation that has become ethos based and has no clear vision for either the Pathos or Logos elements of a vision will find themselves unable to articulate their vision. They have previously appealed to a sense of ethics, the reason they started up, and for those whom the way it was becomes their authority position, it has become everything for their attention and efforts. When their ethos is attacked, as we challenge their beliefs, they lose all reason, they have no argument, they revert to passionate and venomous vitriol.

Pathos is about connection, buy-in, believing the ethos rhetoric to be strong on facts (but it isn’t). The bible of our past iteration, the reason they all exist and that which brings meaning to what is otherwise an empty work existence. It’s the party line and it cannot be broken or they will have nothing left and no ethos on which to fight for solidarity and tribal relationships. The ethos mind is a campfire mind. They sit around the campfire, they watch the flames, they feel its warmth and they fear moving away, less it becomes unattended and goes out. The flames have mesmerised and paralysed them into a huddled mass. The ingredient missing from the leaders of this group is wisdom. So their only course is to revert to sympathy (pathos)…without you guys, we don’t stand a chance, so and so is too powerful…get behind the ethos and help us protect it…pathos has just teamed up with ethos…this isn’t a good place to be.

Logos, on the other hand, is logical, consistent, strategic and factual. It is based on reasoning, seeing the path to a bigger picture and focusing on the destination. It is the enemy of an ethos-pathos based group. Logos is the dry, emotionless face of big brother. The dominant thinking of the ruler, the heartless beast that will trample ethos and pathos to death.

But if it is handled wisely, carefully, compassionately and kindly, Logos is a powerful and phenomenal invitation to set aside fear and see that the world needs ethos and pathos alongside Logos, it needs to present a belief in all three to reach a new nirvana, a new destination, a fertile land from which we can all feed and nurture each other. Logos will point out the folly of ethos-pathos based thinking, it will attack their lack of reasoning and it will expose their weak underbelly. But when they team up…your message is loud and clear…everyone whom you want to follow you loves you…they get you, they want to be part of the story. Look at Apple…

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