It is your businesses ability and capability to withstand the pressures, surprises, and challenges from both internal and external sources.

Your Ability of course refers to the skills you have in your business to be able to “do a something”. It is largely dependent upon the talent that is accessible in your business.

Your Capability is the extent to which you are able to do that something. It is the power you can access to do “it” easily and effectively.

When those elements which contribute to competitive strength are aligned or work together, then your business is able to be better, faster and more synergistically than your competitors.

Refers to those elements in your business which enable you to be agile, flexible, and innovative irrespective of what is happening in your business or your industry.

It enables you to take up opportunities very quickly, as well as duck to avoid surprises that could hinder your performance.

A good recent example is the impact Brexit is having on businesses that hold the belief they need to be in a particular country to conduct their business.

It is your ability to bring together every attribute of your business, to work seamlessly to deliver a standard of Excellence your competitors cannot achieve.

It is the gap that exists between you and your competitors in the market.

Yes. You can measure it objectively. You can compare your results to other organisations that have achieved recognition for their competitive advantage.

This assessment is done on two levels:
a – Internationally ie compare your business to those who have been recognized for their excellence through awards,
and
b – Internally ie compare the thinking that is occurring within and between the different teams in your business.

The award winning organisations have gone beyond being Excellent to achieving competitive freedom. Recognition of their achievements came through internationally acknowledged Excellence awards.

You measure the condition of your business’ competitive strength and its competitive fitness.
Then you compare your results against a cohort of 1,200 successful business – of which only 600 won internationally recognized performance awards.

This comparison will give you an indication of the size of your competitive advantage relative to your industry.

The results are clear to see:

The proven gap in competitive advantage terms between outstripping your competition and trailing them is 67%.

The benefits of outstripping your competition are unequivocal …
* sales growth is 43% more than the average competitors, … and
* net worth is 44% more than the average competitors.

These headline findings are the results of an objective controlled study conducted over 10 years by Dr Vinod Singhal of The Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA.

Competitive advantage can be seriously compromised or even destroyed by The Abyss.
The Abyss is the crevasse which sits beneath every business, even your business, threatening to undermine it at any time.

It represents those forces that impact upon your competitive position and the sustainability of your business.

These forces can divert you at best and destabilise or permanently damage your business at worst.

The Abyss is a reflection of the pressures and forces which act against your business every day.

Common components that impact upon all businesses include Compliance (legislation and regulation), Capacity Limitations, Capability Constraints, Market Forces, Supply Chain failures, and Politics and Economic Policy.

Each business will also have its own issues that divert attention, overstretch critical resources and threaten to undermine progress and sustainability.

During our Competitive Strategic Review workshop, we call this the Vertical Thinking of strategic planning – running through the environment, the industry, your business and your market.

The forces influencing the Abyss used to grow more slowly than many businesses did.
Even twenty five years ago, compliance, technology, and influences of the global market exerted some force on businesses. These things were evolving, slowly.

Today they move fast and often can set the agenda.

Today, the Abyss is growing so fast it outruns 67% of all organisations. In turn it reduces competitive advantage and undermines sustainability.

In short, yes.
Dr Singhal’s research findings are relevant to every business, including not-for-profit organisations.
He focused solely on the financial results of businesses achieving and sustaining Excellence or better. He analysed the published accounts of 600 premier Excellence award winners covering the widest spectrum of organisations – size, location, and service, industry or market sectors.

His findings are universally applicable…to any business, of any size, in any market, anywhere.

In short, no!
The research results are unequivocal.
Excellence delivers massive competitive advantage.
competitive advantage; competitive fitness, competitive strength

Financial returns from strong Competitive Advantage

This is quantified in the table above… 44% more sales growth and a 44% increase in net worth over the average achieved across a period of 10 years.

To have achieved these business results organisations had to be strong and fit. Competitive advantage demands robust systems and fluid, agile processes that can withstand all the pressures of 21st century trading.

No as many charities, not for profit organizations and industry associations do not value “making a profit”.

What they do value is their ability to deliver on their mission.

From this different perspective – the Service Excellence Review is better suited to these organisations.

Charities need to make money to deliver on their mission, and any profits made are redirected to either improving services or delivering new ones.

Not for profit organisations and industry associations are particularly driven to deliver on their mission – and in order to gain a larger share of donations within a very tight market they have to ensure they deliver service excellence better than the other providers.

This is particularly relevant for both the recipients of the service as well as the funders.

So yes, when these boards are able to understand and improve their own service strength and become service fit, they are in a much better position to deliver more to their mission.

No as many local governments, local councils or shires do not value “making a profit”.

What they do value is their ability to deliver on their mission to their constituents.

Local Governments, Local Councils or Shires need to deliver on their service role in order to meet the needs of their community. As they are further bound by political cycles and election promises, it is essential they are able to fund either improving current services or delivering new ones.

Local Councils are driven to deliver on their mission – and as they work within a very tight financial market with high levels of public scrutiny, they have to ensure they deliver service excellence.

So yes, when Local Government Committees are able to understand and improve their own service strength and become more service fit, they are in a much better position to deliver more to their communities without necessarily working harder.

The Service Excellence Review is better suited to local government bodies.

The Service Excellence Review consists of the Service Excellence Report and the facilitated Service Excellence Review workshop.

It is best suited to Not for Profit organisations, Industry Associations and Local Council Committees.

The Competitive Strength Review consists of:
1. An online proven questionnaire completed by key decision makers in the organisation.

2. The Competitive Strength Report which is 70 pages of easy to read results detailing and quantifying the competitive state of the organisation as well as specific change recommendations regarding how to improve competitive strength and fitness.

3. Debrief with Managing Director or CEO

The CEO or Managing Director may choose:

1. A facilitated feedback debrief with Management team
2. A facilitated workshop with management team or board
3. A facilitated 2 day workshop on how to lead the implementation required.
4. Assess the alignment of thinking either vertically or horizontally through the business.

The Competitive Strength Report is a comparative and objective assessment of the competitive strength and competitive fitness of an organization.

The report highlights:

1. The competitive State of the business – i.e is it constrained, comfortable, excellent or free within its market?
2. The facets of Competitive Strength – and how the business is tracking compared to market leader businesses.
3. The facets of Competitive Fitness – and how the business is tracking compared to market leader businesses.
4. The relevance, strength and likelihood of Abyss forces which are underpining the business.
5. Decision Drivers for the future of the business – based on its specific and individual competitive state.
6. Leadership pointers – specific leader requirements to bring about change when implementing insights.
7. Team and Organisation change recommendations – specific to the current state of the organisation within a context of improvement and change.
The Service Excellence Review consists of:
1. An online proven questionnaire completed by key decision makers in the organisation.

2. The Service Excellence Report which is 70 pages of easy to read results detailing and quantifying the Excellence state of the organisation as well as specific change recommendations regarding how to improve service strength and fitness.

3. Debrief with Managing Director.

The Senior Executive may choose:

1. A facilitated feedback debrief with the Management team
2. A facilitated 1 day workshop with management team or board
3. A facilitated 2 day workshop on how to lead the implementation required.
4. Assess the alignment of thinking either vertically or horizontally through the business.

The Service Excellence Report is a comparative and objective assessment of the service strength and service fitness of an organization.

The Report highlights:

1. The Service State of the organisation – i.e is it constrained, comfortable, excellent or free within its market.
2. The facets of Service Strength – and how the organization is tracking compared to market leader organizations.
3. The facets of Service Fitness – and how the organization is tracking compared to market leader organizations.
4. The relevance, strength and likelihood of Abyss forces which are underpining the organization and driving the environment.
5. Decision Drivers for the future of the organization – based on its specific and individual service state.
6. Leadership pointers – specific leader requirements to bring about change when implementing insights and decisions.
7. Team and Organisation change recommendations – specific to the current state of the organisation within a context of improvement and change.
Two core benefits:

Firstly: – The Competitive Strength Review will give you the opportunity to shake up the thinking amongst the senior team and identify opportunities not usually seen within the context of comparing yourself against the proven best.

A strategic business plan is the outcome of a strategic thinking process.

Often, this process is facilitated using similar techniques, with similar members and driven from within the business.
This often leads to constrained thinking and therefore constrained decisions.
The end result is usually a complicated business plan that focuses on incremental improvements.
OK but limited value in today’s world.

Secondly: – The Competitive Strength Review is designed specifically to ensure every participant thinks “outside the business” in an objective and reflective way.
This means you are able to access the thinking, insights and wisdom they bring to your strategic review without the games and constrained thinking.

Strategic planning processes and techniques sometimes encourage inward thinking and provide perfect platforms for individual agendas and political power games.

The Competitive Strength Review will give you an opportunity to have objective strategic discussions about the future of your business within its current market.

And hopefully mean unconstrained decisions are made regarding your future position within your changing market.

This different thinking is what gives you a sustainable competitive edge. Are you achieving this in your current Strategic Plan?

SWOT as a technique for discussing business is a tried and true method and it’s worked.

Ensuring your business continues to succeed into the largely unknown future, it is now considered risky to use assessment or review techniques with which everyone has grown comfortable. SWOT is such a technique.

Not because SWOT itself is a problem. But because people are so used to thinking in the same 4 quadrants, answering the same questions in the same order that there is limited incentive or pressure to think differently about the business and what it needs to do to be successful in a future changing world.

This leads by default to “same thinking” – which in term then ensures the same decisions get made and the same actions being taken. [This is what we mean by constrained decision making. Making decisions based on current perceptions and assumptions about the current situation]

Constrained decisions often result in Incremental improvement rather than strategic action.

The Competitive Strength Review is designed to enable teams to make unconstrained Decisions to Act and comes with recommendations on how to implement these decisions when made.