You Have to be Terrible to be Great

Apr 21, 2015

You will not be everything to everyone. The sooner your organization understands this fundamental concept, the better off you’ll be.

The idea is actually pretty simple. In order for you to develop your competitive advantage, your organization needs to decide what to be great at. Being great at something specific, whether it’s a product or service, gives you a distinct advantage in the market. But what organizations fail to do when developing their competitive advantage is acknowledging what they’re just plain terrible at.

We’re all bad at some things, so why is it important to identify them? Here are three distinct reasons you need to acknowledge what you suck at:

  1. Question whether what your good at is truly what you want to pursue Sometimes, your organization will identify where they want to be great without considering how it could make them fail somewhere else. For example, Apple makes high-end computers that focus on speed and design. Conversely, Apple understands they will fail to compete in the entry-level computer market. After looking at the other side, is your competitive advantage really going to give you an advantage?
  2.  Create a strategy to address it – By identifying the weakness itself, you can develop a strategy to address the problem. Apple understands they have an expensive product, so they’ve created marketing and packaging to answer the question, “Why should a consumer spend more money on our product?”
  3. Understand your market – If you know what your organization fails at, you’ll know gaps the competition will fill. Again, think about Apple. Since they fail to make a product that competes in the entry-level computer market, they understand another organization could fill this gap.

Developing a strong competitive advantage will make your organization inherently bad at something. But it is important to identify exactly what it is to help you decide if that competitive advantage or skill set will allow your organization to thrive and grow and ultimately reach your vision.

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