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Your ONLY Sustainable Advantage

June 9th, 2017

Your company is awesome.  You provide a superb product or service.  You and your team believe it is second to none.  Your employees have worked hard to create the best solution in your market. You’ve created outstanding service, responsiveness, customer relationships, and more. These are all great qualities that have bolstered your company reputation.


Furthermore, you do your best to control spending but invest heavily into your systems, processes and people, the pillars of scale. You often celebrate your accomplishments with your team. There are plenty of internal conversations among your employees discussing how great you really are.


You would think that after all of this, your company would be the absolute market leader and that customers, incredible employees, and investors would be beating a path to your door.  Well, are they?


If your answer is “yes”, congratulations! Keep up the great work.


If your answer is “not really”, “not so much”, or “hell no”, welcome to the majority.


In reality, most CEOs and their employees believe that their companies are unique. Conversely, the marketplace views most companies as commodities. In other words, you think you have something really special, the market thinks you are one of many.  A complete disconnect.


Don’t get me wrong. It is important to offer outstanding quality, service, and support. It is also critical to have solid internal processes and great people. These features are EXPECTED and will win you some business, but will usually not make you stand apart from your competition over the long haul. So what will?


If you (and your company) could become dominant in just ONE THING, month after month, year after year, that would guarantee success over the long haul, what would that one thing be?


After working personally with hundreds of CEOs and studying thousands of companies over the last several decades, my belief is that the answer lies in LEARNING. I’m not talking about education.  I’m talking about learning.   Swift, efficient learning.  An organization with a strong learning culture will rapidly capture information and experience, convert it into new knowledge, skills, attitudes and actionable behaviors, systems and habits. I have observed that the companies (and their learning leaders) that do this well consistently outperform their competitors. They dominate their competitors.


Unfortunately, the majority of companies do not have a process to learn. Leaders of most firms continuously struggle with uncertainty, inconsistency, a lack of control, and frustration. These well-intentioned (but ineffective) company leaders find themselves seeking success via the idea of the week, shiny objects, and quick fixes. Even when they do develop an advantage, it often vaporizes as quickly as information travels. The marketplace rapidly re-commoditizes them.


The only sustainable advantage that any of us have is to learn faster than our competitors.


Developing a speed-learning culture does not occur overnight, but the rewards can be astronomical.   Like so many business and personal development practices, creating this kind of advantage is simple, but not necessarily easy. Here are a few steps to get started…:


1.     COMMIT to developing the fastest learning culture in your market.

2.     YOU go first. Lead by Example.

3.     If you need help either getting started or maintaining the required discipline, find it or email me.

4.     Quantify your speed learning goals and measure the results.

5.     Enjoy the rewards!


Copyright ©   Joe Zente  2017.   All Rights Reserved.