Creating a Sustainable Competitive Advantage
Most MWBs focus on market-related initiatives: developing and introducing new products, reviving a brand, entering a distant geographic market, or a new segment in a home market, and so on. By definition these battles are important. But competitors will respond to your moves—doing their best to copy or exceed your efforts, and acting in ways that will take away the uniqueness of your offering to customers. It is very difficult, in short, to create a sustainable competitive advantage. A better market objective in today's world is often to create a renewable competitive advantage.
But we believe that you can use your MWB journey to create a real sustainable competitive advantage. This is the creation of a management team that truly functions as a team. As we have argued, and will again in Chapter 3, top managers rarely function as teams. So if you can build your key players into a real team, you will have a competitive advantage that will be very difficult for competitors to match. Your top team, operating as a team, should be able to implement new initiatives more quickly and with more force than competitors. In other words, having a sustainable competitive advantage in the way people work together at the top of your organization should allow you to create a series of renewable competitive advantages in the marketplace.
As the leader your most important job is to take that group of people at the top and turn them into a team. It will not be done overnight, and it may not be possible with the cast of characters that you have in place right now. The MWB journey is a tool we have seen managers use to build such a team, but let us re-emphasize that the key is to simultaneously lead your people on a journey that is both intellectual and emotional. This is difficult because it means that the leader has to continuously embody the blend of both intellectual and emotional openness that he or she is asking of others. The rewards, however, in terms of business results as well as the personal development of the leader and of the team members, are great.
If you are attracted by the possibility of using an MWB journey to create focus, energy, and a real team in your business, read on. We offer you a guide to the journey, including tools and techniques that can be used at each stage, plus advice on how to use them. These are not just nice ideas, we have personally used these tools, and seen MWB leaders use them. They work.