I was looking through some ‘sage’ advice from McKinsey on managing in a crisis, in really hard times, and one really got me thinking, so I thought I’d share this.
“Use the hard times to concentrate on and strengthen your competitive advantage. If you are confused about this concept, hard times will clarify it.
Competitive advantage has two branches, both growing from the same root. You have a competitive advantage when you take business away from another company at a profit and when your cash costs of doing business are low enough that you survive in hard times.”
This challenged my thinking of competitive advantage but then again hard times certainly do questions all our thinking. I always felt it was the uniqueness within, in what you offered, that separates you from your competition. This alters that perspecitve.
It seems this piece of advice boils down to the hard dollar gained by showing advantage within the market place- where it really counts, in fighting for every sale by being able to make a profit or simply cover your costs to simply keep going.
Isn’t innovation simply stripped away here-lost, forgotten, ignored, abandoned? Just thrown overboard along with any branding and this seems so stark or am I missing something here? What happens when markets come back? Maybe you have survived and you pick up the pieces. Do you agree this is where competitive advantage lies?
Perhaps this is ‘creative destruction’ and ‘innovation productivity’ in its rawest form? See my recent article on ‘seeking innovation productivity through creative destruction’ on this.