To create a sustainable competitive advantage, it is essential to adopt a results-oriented mindset, which allows a company to focus on long-term goals while executing on short-term strategies. This means keeping the goal and desired outcomes as a North Star rather than as processes. Here’s how a company can implement this type of targeted strategy to innovate more effectively.
Last year, Microsoft’s CEO said the company had seen two years of digital transformation in two months. While much of this is undoubtedly pandemic-related, it’s no secret that technology is advancing at an ever-increasing rate. for years now. This exponential rate of change has made it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for existing businesses to simply stick to what they do best in order to succeed. Instead, businesses of all sizes must continually innovate if they want to stay alive.
Of course, saying that and actually doing it are very different things. Many companies aren’t very good at developing innovation-focused business growth strategies, preferring instead to rock the boat. Even in organizations where innovation programs exist, the majority of them are still in their infancyfar behind where they need to be to deliver competitive advantage.
Fortunately, it is possible for virtually any company to become an innovation-driven company. They just need to be ready to change their way of thinking.
How a Results-Driven Mindset Enables Innovation and Gives Business a Competitive Advantage
In a traditional environment, teams often find themselves building products or features of dubious value that nonetheless continue to be supported and maintained because so much time and money has already been spent creating them. Without a willingness to experiment or learn from failure, companies can quickly stall, getting nowhere fast with their products.
A results-oriented mindset, on the other hand, is a skill that allows a company to focus on long-term goals while executing short-term strategies. Field teams are deployed to conduct experiments, learn from the data, and continue to inform the company of the next best step to take.
This type of strategy is especially useful today because it also ensures that customer experience becomes a top priority. Companies focused on the customer experience are 60% more profitable than those who are not. A results-driven mindset, by its very nature, must consider the user experience in order to understand the true impact of a feature. In other words, it’s a strategy designed to make a business smarter and friendlier every step of the way.
3 Ways to Implement an Effective Goal-Based Strategy
Best of all, a results-driven mindset isn’t too complicated or expensive to implement. This can be achieved in just a few steps:
- Ask why?” then repeat four times.
While a successful results-driven mindset is closely tied to end-user experience, that doesn’t mean you should just take customer feedback at face value and use it to guide your strategy. It’s common wisdom that customers will tell you what they want; it’s our job to find out what they really need. To create a lasting competitive advantage, you must determine the primary reason (or reasons) behind a particular request or complaint (often through direct observation of the work they are trying to do). After all, what’s the point of fixing the exterior of a house if the foundation is cracked?
The five whys strategy is designed specifically for this type of root cause analysis. When faced with a particular problem or need, the first step, of course, is to ask “why?” “: why is this a problem? Or why does the customer want this particular feature? You then need to follow the answer to that “why” with another “why” and repeat this process two more times. You will quickly find that your picture of the problem becomes more detailed and your countermeasure becomes more effective.
- Determine how you define success.
To pursue a results-oriented approach, you must first define what the desired outcome looks like in practical terms so that you can then determine how to measure true success. In some ways, this process is similar to the Five Whys. Start by looking at the overall goals you’re aiming for—this list of 10 universal lenses might come in handy, then dive into the why of those lenses.
Lasting value, for example, is better for supporting the fundamental value of your product, while a higher profit target will support lower costs and allow you to get the most out of your existing assets. Once you know which goals are most important to you and why, then you will be able to accurately measure the success or failure of each outcome.
- Be comfortable with experimentation.
When it comes to transitioning to a goal-driven strategy, one of the biggest challenges for established companies is accepting the idea that failure is not only acceptable, it means that the strategy works. Your expected result should basically serve as a hypothesis, while your development process should serve as an experiment. It is through this experimentation that your competitive advantage is forged.
Before creating a solution, ask questions about what you expect. Gather a baseline to measure change and let the data guide your next steps. It may seem strange to put money and time into a bunch of projects that will fail, but that’s exactly what the most successful companies do. It’s important to build the right thing, but eliminating the bad stuff from taking up valuable time is infinitely more valuable to the business in the long run.
Bosch Acceleration Program is a prime example of the spirit of experimentation in action. The program does not have a pitch concept; instead, it offers “lessons learned” presentations whose purpose is to assess the evidence and give teams an opt-out or no-go opportunity. Seventy percent of teams never make it past discovery phase one, while 70% don’t make it past phase two. And that’s exactly what Bosch expects. Finding the right opportunity is only possible by eliminating the bad ones along the way.
Technology will continue to evolve at a breathtaking pace in the years to come. In order to not only keep pace, but stay ahead of the game, companies need to move away from old rigid strategies and embrace something that focuses on results rather than process. A goal-oriented strategy will provide your business with exactly what it needs to satisfy its customers and cope with whatever comes next.
Written by Kim Stearns.
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