A key to success for progressive companies is a sense of competitive urgency. The fact is that despite the amount of money spent on leadership development and good management practices, none of these will be effective unless the learned techniques are adopted and can be applied with a real sense of competitive urgency.
So what does a company that embraces competitive urgency look like? First, the leaders exploit opportunities. They devote time to building on strengths as opposed to shoring up weaknesses. They also build their own business position as opposed to countering competitive moves.
Second, the leader demonstrating competitive urgency seeks out and faces up to issues, problems and roadblocks. This type of leader recognizes that leaving these elements to fester makes them even harder to resolve in the long run. When the issue cannot be resolved immediately, the leader turns to the company strengths to work around the problem while waiting for a better time to solve it.
Third, the leader demonstrating competitive urgency does not shy away from making tough personnel decisions. This leader understands that unless poor performance is overcome, it is fairer to the company and the individual to remove that person sooner rather than later.
Finally, the competitively urgent leader focuses on increasing the company’s share of market at a profit. Every priority and every action is directed toward building a stronger competitive position for the long term…but by taking the action now.
Having a corporate philosophy based on competitive urgency requires all leaders in the organization to buy in to the concept and to demonstrate the required behaviours consistently. Only then will the philosophy take root in the minds of the people throughout the organization. But more is required to be truly effective. Leaders at all levels need to articulate the competitive urgency philosophy consistently and apply it to actual problems at hand and to identify actions that align with the philosophy and those that don’t.
Once a corporate philosophy of competitive urgency crystallizes and becomes deep rooted in the way people are expected to behave, it becomes a powerful force indeed…