Even after 30 years, the connections between change management and gaining competitive advantage are not well articulated. The disconnects between commitments to change and actual competitive behavior are a major factor in change failure. Getting beyond imitators relies on understanding and measuring behaviour that distinguishes competitive behavior from other activities.
As one contributor said
Learning keeps us ahead of the competition by getting us closer to selected customers to gather competitive intelligence
The seriousness of these ratings is underlined by the fact that, many studies show that it costs six times more to Focus on the Customer Survey Results – Stats Table get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
Acquiring new customers is costly, and in many cases, the money earned on the first sale doesn’t even cover the acquisition costs.For example in the table to the right,
- Only 70% of contributors say they measure customer satisfaction effectively.
- Low percentages for the benefits of measuring change related to customers (3%) and their feedback when it comes to change success (12%)
These findings have uncomfortable resonance with the lack of customer focus we see in other parts of this report. Change drives these leaders, while customers and competitive advantage are apparent afterthoughts.
We conclude that there are practical ways to avoid these pitfalls. Overall, contributors comment that managing change for competitive success is a continuous, systemic, repetitive and uncertain process. They recommend five areas to improve competitive advantage through change.
1. Market & Competitive Sensing
- What do managers do to maintain awareness of your competitive environment?
- How well do managers use this information to make more competitive decision?
2. Leading Competitive Change
- How are you going to build more leadership capability to promote successful change?
3. Integrating Change into Operations
4. Building Competitive Human Capital
5. Developing Competitive Agility
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