I was speaking with one of my corporate clients recently about changes in her industry. As the CEO of an insurance company, she’s been asked by her board to identify “game changers” (their phrase) in the insurance industry, so they can be ahead of their competition.
Great! I love to see organisations looking ahead to the future. But most of them are asking the wrong question.
It’s OK to look for something that puts you ahead of your competition, but that usually isn’t a “game changer”. It might give you a competitive edge, and it might give you a short-term advantage. But it probably won’t be a game changer.
Game changers change the game!
There are two ways to change the game: Either be so spectacularly good that you’re way ahead of your competition, or play a completely different game so the old game becomes irrelevant.
The first option is difficult – especially in our flat world, where it’s so easy for competitors to copy you (and vice versa). So stop trying to compete, and play a different game instead.
Instead of asking what you can do better than your competition, ask this instead:
“How can we solve our customers’ problems in another way?”
Does this seem too simple? Too ho-hum? Not high-tech enough?
Don’t be fooled! It doesn’t sound exciting, but turning your attention away from your competition to your customer is exactly the right thing to do.
For example …
OK question: “How do we become the best taxi service?”
Game-changer question: “What’s another way to get people from A to B?” (Uber!)
OK: “How do we provide insurance in a better way?”
Game-changer: “What’s another way to protect customers’ assets?”
OK: “How can I provide a better presentation/workshop/course?”
Game-changer: “What’s another way to improve performance in the workplace?”
OK: “How can we offer better advice to clients?”
Game-changer: “How can clients do more with the money they make?”
Game changers don’t usually come from within an industry; they come from outside. So think like an outsider.
Will you spend all your time struggling for a tiny competitive edge, or will you find a way to change the game?