In 2016, I wrote a post titled “The real competitive advantage in any business is one word only which is people” which outlines the fact that the failure of most businesses stems from their inability to determine why they exist. What are they trying to achieve? Using a competitive advantage implies competitiveness and encourages businesses to outsmart and outpace each other. It is about finding the secret formula that guarantees a defeat for their enemies, namely their competitors. Also, I coined the term “leading advantage” as an alternative which has become later the backbone of my book, Separating Grain from Chaff, Redefining leadership about its true meaning which was released recently.
What is the leading advantage?
Leading companies do not compete; they lead
Leading companies do not have competitive advantages, they have leading ones.
Leaders create, develop and grow leading advantages not competitive ones.
What is the source of inspiration for the leaders? Leading or competing.
Answering this question determines the quality of the overall leadership and the scope of the business.
Finding a true leading advantage is how business leaders demonstrate entrepreneurship and leadership in action, not in words. What is your leading advantage that is not related to competitiveness? This is the right question to ask since it sums up the purpose of the business and its core values.
Understanding why you are in business in the first place and the impact that you set to create is crucial. It is about setting the destination before pulling the resources to build the ship. It is about discovering the purpose of the business before embarking on the journey.
Purpose is the leading advantage
Separating Grain from Chaff outlines the fact that communicating purpose and making it the leading advantage will communicate the contributions and the final impact of the business. The leading advantage does not occur automatically; it requires leaders to embed it in all communication and critical functions of the business, including marketing, HR, operations, decision-making, and strategic planning.
Since Separating Grain from Chaff is about distinguishing the leaders from the non-leaders, it is suffice to say that the leaders lead, and the non-leaders compete. The Leaders talk about their purpose; the leading advantage to inspire and the non-leaders reinvent and repackage their competitive advantage to compete.