Rita McGrath: Why The Sustainable Competitive Advantage Model is Vanishing Episode #30

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For years the idea of maintaining a competitive advantage has dominated the way we do business. The theory is that if we can figure out how to keep our company ahead of the competition and continue to employ the best-practices that got us there, we’ll stay on top. But my guest on this episode, Rita McGrath says that model is no longer viable because of the speed at which change and innovation are happening. In our conversation we discuss why sticking to a competitive advantage model doesn’t work anymore, what questions leaders should be asking themselves to fuel success in their organizations, how stepping stone ideas can lead to more effective innovation, and much more. You’ll be encouraged and equipped by what Rita shares, so be sure to listen.

Why sticking to a competitive advantage model doesn’t work

Trying to out-think and out-gun your competition used to be the way to stay ahead in business. But Rita McGrath points out that it’s no longer a viable model, primarily because the competition businesses are up against is no longer isolated to their own industry. There are many organizations and high-powered companies (Amazon, etc.) that are able to dive into a new product or service offering quickly, taking a significant share of your industry’s market share. Instead of sticking to the sustainable competitive advantage model, Rita suggests a strategy more fitting to the digital age we live in. Her work as a professor at Columbia and her thought-provoking research and case studies show that she’s got the insight needed to help us make this transition. Listen to find out more about Rita’s ideas and learn how to get her new book, “The End of the Competitive Advantage.”

Leaders: Are you truly attuned to your customers?

One of the questions I love to ask my guests is about the types of things today’s leaders should be asking themselves in order to thrive and succeed. Rita’s response echoes an idea I’ve heard from many of my guests. She suggests that leaders need to be very attentive to the true needs of the people they serve - customers and team members. The only way to provide the kind of leadership that is truly needed is to stay in touch with the real needs you’re looking to address. Rita suggests a handful of questions and approaches leaders can use to truly know what their customers are experiencing, which you can hear by listening to this episode.

Information flow within teams is harder than ever before

With the advent of digital forms of communication, organizations and businesses have leveraged technology to make use of contractors, freelancers, and remote team members - cutting costs and allowing team members to live a lifestyle of freedom never before possible. But with those advantages come some problems, one of the most significant being the difficulty of information flow. No longer are team members meeting casually around the copier or coffee pot to discuss projects or issues. Dedicated attention has to be given to making sure proper information and effective collaboration is happening among distributed/remote teams - and it’s the leader’s job to ensure it does. Find out more about how to make it happen, on this episode.

Stepping stone ideas are the key to effective innovation

Rita loves the technological advances being made these days. She believes there are great things on the horizon. But much of the mad rush to develop new technologies is skipping what she calls “stepping stone ideas” - to their own detriment. In this conversation, she uses the example of self-driving cars to show how problems we face could be addressed more effectively and more quickly by rethinking problems from square one rather than building on what has already been done (much along the line of her thinking regarding the competitive advantage model). As you listen you’ll understand a modern-day example of how innovation can happen at a faster pace and in a more effective way. Don’t miss it.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:41] Who is Rita McGrath?
  • [1:47] What is leadership and how does it connect with strategy?
  • [2:20] The reason Rita wrote her most recent book
  • [4:50] Questions leaders should be asking themselves heading forward
  • [8:39] Why absolute candor is vital for companies
  • [9:57] How has strategy been impacted by remote work and teams?
  • [14:50] Advice for middle managers regarding how to thrive and succeed
  • [19:20] How the MOJO model for meetings can improve team effectiveness
  • [22:07] Using stepping-stone ideas to innovate and improve
Resources & People Mentioned Connect with Erica

Erica@cotentialgroup.com

Linkedin.com/in/ericadhawan

Twitter.com/edhawan

Facebook.com/ericadhawan

28 episodes available. A new episode about every 11 days averaging 27 mins duration .