Don’t out compete your rivals, change the rules of the game

On his way to becoming the greatest military genius to set foot on Earth, Napoleon Bonaparte broke the rules on how military campaigns were waged. From a young age he was always overlooked, to get the respect of his peers he understood he had to fight differently. In doing so he went on to rewrite the rules of military history.

Just like Napoleon we too can learn to fight ‘differently’ than our opponents, because doing so is the only way you’ll ever stand out in a world full of ‘me too thinking’.

Here are a few ways that can help you to start thinking about how to change the game in your industry:

  • Do what others are unwilling to do. Established companies have a strong incentive to maintain the status quo, it’s to their advantage to keep doing ‘what’s working’. Don’t compete on their terms, do what they’re unwilling to do and define your own rules.
  • Look where your competition is not. Go out to the fringe, where’s things are changing. Stepping out of the mainstream is the only place where you’ll get unconventional insights. What’s happening in another part of the world that you could adopt and adapt in your environment?
  • Challenge industry orthodoxies. Time and again, the strategy innovations that radically change customer expectations, competitive rules and industry structures come from questioning beliefs that everyone else has taken for granted. What drives success in your industry? Could you imagine alternative ways of doing things?
  • Collaborate. Innovations that matter arise from cross-boundary perspectives.