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Measure the Right Factors About Future Powerful Trends

Mar 29, 2008
How do you measure irresistible forces? The future best practice in this activity is simply what will be the best anyone anywhere (regardless of whether or not they are engaged in the same economic or social activity as your organization is) will be doing by the time you can establish your new practice.

Determining what that practice will be is particularly challenging in the area of locating, anticipating, and adapting to changes in irresistible forces. For one thing, you need to be sure that you are measuring an enterprise's effectiveness in the right way.

For example, if your firm is better at locating irresistible forces than anyone else's organization, but you cannot adapt to these forces, you will have gained no advantage from your insight. Conversely, if you are the best at adapting to irresistible forces but never locate them, you'll also be at a major disadvantage.

In the Olympics, you can compete in individual track and field events (the 100-meter dash, long jump, javelin throw, and so forth). You can also compete in the Decathlon, which combines ten track and field events over two days. In the Decathlon, you are scored based on your measured performance in each event, but the winner is determined by the combined score in all ten events.

The future best practices for locating, anticipating, and adjusting to changes in irresistible forces is more like the Decathlon than it is individual track and field events, but there is one important difference. In this area you will probably have to be the best at all three activities in order to have the future best practice for your process. (Even Dan O'Brien, the greatest Decathlete of the 20th century, didn't win every event of the ten he competed in.)

The reason for striving to hit this high standard is because the three activities so depend on one another in order to achieve the desired result: to be able to take actions that provide your enterprise with sustained competitive advantages that leave competitors behind, gasping in your dust. In this sense, the future best practice is described here as achieving that sustained competitive advantage through the successful orientation towards the beneficial effects of irresistible forces.

Weather or Not

At the 1998 British Open golf tournament, the weather conditions changed enormously from day to day. On wet, windy days, the golfers from England and Scotland (where the weather is often like this) scored very well. On bright, warm, windless days (like those usually occurring during professional events in the United States), the Americans excelled.

Anyone wanting to place a winning bet on a golfer (something that you can do easily and legally in the U.K.) needed to be pretty sure what the weather would be during the tournament. With just the right balance of both kinds of weather and experience in both kinds of playing conditions, Mark O'Meara of the United States pulled off the victory by a narrow margin.

Here is a key point: Many observers feel that in most activities no newly developed competitive advantage will last for long. Either conditions will change unexpectedly like the weather, disfavoring those who can't adapt even if they have been on a winning track so far, or competitors eventually will also find ways to maneuver around the advantage.

If this view is correct, your company will have to hold its lead by expanding the competitive gap continuously in some new way to enjoy the benefits of a sustained competitive advantage. Even if this view is incorrect and you can achieve a dominant advantage from only one set of changes, you'll probably find this skeptical viewpoint to be an empowering one for your colleagues. This latter assumption will leave you prepared both for an environment in which conditions change rapidly and competition keeps up, as well as one in which your continued progress creates ever more significant competitive benefits for your firm.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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