"Unfortunately, we are more sensitive to our weaknesses than our strengths.
if a business tries to increase its “average score,” it may end up having little or no uniqueness. [Moi ici: Como não recordar Youngme Moon e "Different"] Not many people want to go to a restaurant that is all Bs, no Cs but no As. To gain customers, a company has to be distinct. As long as it provides a distinct value, there will always be customers who will like it.
Somehow, in school, we appreciate students who are “balanced.” As a result, we tend to emphasize fixing weaknesses rather than developing strengths further. This idea is poor from a strategy perspective. Strategy is about strengths and trade-offs.
Unless the allocation of resources is biased toward strengths, a company will lose its distinctiveness and will end up getting unnoticed as one of many similar companies.
How Can We Identify, Develop, and Use Strengths for Strategy?
One may wonder if there is any strength on which strategy can be built, particularly when you are much smaller than competitors. How can we find our strengths? Compared with large rivals with abundant resources and skilled people, it may seem like we do not have any strength! Let me repeat. We are trained and educated to be sensitive to our weaknesses. Thus, it is not surprising that we have a hard time articulating strengths. However, identifying strengths is one of the first steps to take in formulating a strategy. In doing so, the following three points are helpful:
- Point 1: Strengths and weaknesses are relative terms. Even if you think you are not particularly good at one thing, if your competitors are even worse, that may be your strength.
- Point 2: When you examine one by one, it might seem like you do not have any uniqueness. However, you may be able to develop a strong business model by combining those parts more consistently than your competitors.
Again, strategy is built on strengths. Given the limited resources within a company, resources should be used to further develop strengths, not to fix weakness. By developing strengths, a company becomes distinct. By fixing weaknesses, a company becomes average. Who wants “average” that has no uniqueness? Strengths do not have to be big or obvious. The strength may be subtle and small, which is perfectly fine. All a company needs to do is to understand its strengths (and weaknesses) well, and formulate a strategy that uses the strengths so that competitors cannot easily imitate it. [Moi ici: Esta frase para mim, hoje, é um bocado difícil de aceitar. A estratégia tem de se basear nas forças. Contudo, forças e fraquezas não são uma verdade absoluta, são classificações subjectivas. Recordar as vinhas velhas do Douro e os que partem já derrotados. Se a estratégia for eficiência as vinhas velhas são um estorvo, uma fraqueza, se a estratégia for qualidade/distinção as vinhas velhas são um ponto forte. O conselho? Partir da base da effectuation (Bird in Hand Principle – Start with your means - Entrepreneurs start with what they have), uma PME não tem dinheiro para mudar o mundo. Tem antes de pensar: com o que tenho e com os recursos a que posso aceder, como posso partir de pontos fortes? ]
Peter Drucker once said, “Thinking is very hard work. And the management fashions are a wonderful substitute for thinking.”
Trechos retirados de "The cores of strategic management" de Katsuhiko Shimizu.
- Point 3: Strengths and weaknesses depend on what game (or war) is played. If you are really macho, you may be good at wrestling or weightlifting, but probably not at high jump. When the game changes your weaknesses may become your strengths and vice versa."