Before strategy, have an opinion.
Everyone wants a strategy, but not many have an opinion. I’ve talked about this before, purpose matters. And although I don’t like repeating the same message over and over again, I’ve got a feeling this is never going to end.
A real opinion, to me, is a stretch thought about what everyone thinks is important. For example, Steve Jobs believed design was just as important as technology. Hence, Apple builds products from an artistic point of view. And, it just so happens that they created products that became “must-haves”.
Did Dell have this point of view back in the day? IBM? Microsoft? Nope.
Want some more? Here’s another one for you: Richard Branson. Are airlines supposed to be boring? Not according to him. But that’s not where it stops. All businesses should be fun. That is what he believes, and that is what his Virgin empire stands for. Any business they enter, it’s almost like a celebration.
Now, you might say that these are examples of Mavericks. Well, yes. They are Mavericks. And you can learn a lot from them than from people in the mainstream.
That’s the point.
Innovation starts at the edges. Not in the mainstream. And, so it is with game-changing businesses. They poses edge thinking. The type of thinking who’s fuel is conviction. They understand that you can’t build a winning strategy if you don’t know who you are.
When you think about it this way, you won’t be thinking about stealing tactics from competitors. You’ll be thinking about passionately communicating your belief through your daily actions with customers, partners, suppliers, etc.
Competitors will have a harder time playing your game. And you know why? Because people and businesses that have conviction, dare others to stand for something.
Bottom line: Before thinking about strategy, have conviction and bet on what you think is indispensable.