Unlock Faster Wins: Mastering Execution for Competitive Edge

Leadership Development, Step Up

Gaining a Competitive Edge through Swift Decision-Making

The Philosophy of Going First: A Lesson from Martial Arts

“Go first” was more than just advice from my coaches during my days as a competitive martial artist; it was a strategy that applies just as effectively to the competitive business landscape. Whether leading an organization, contributing as an individual, or seeking employment, competition is a constant. This mantra emphasizes the importance of initiating action, controlling momentum, and keeping competitors on their heels.


Adapting Quickly in a Constantly Evolving Market

The old adage of having a perfect 10-year plan for success has become obsolete in today’s rapidly changing environment. Our experience facilitating strategic planning with executive teams has shown that agility and the ability to execute strategies nearly eight times faster than the average organization is what sets market leaders apart. We advise against setting in stone anything beyond a 2-year plan, advocating instead for a dynamic approach that embraces change and uncertainty.


Key Strategies for Competitive Advantage

Embrace Speed in Decision-Making: Waiting for complete information is a luxury that modern businesses can no longer afford. If you have 60-70% of the necessary information, it’s time to decide and start executing. This principle is what differentiates growing companies like Starbucks, which introduces new products in just 16 weeks, from those struggling to keep up due to overly cautious planning.


Rapid Adaptation to Change: Recognizing when change is necessary and then implementing those changes faster than your competitors is crucial. Being attuned to signals such as declines in customer satisfaction, profit margins, or sales allows you to pivot quickly, ensuring you stay ahead of market trends and rival companies.


In conclusion, the pursuit of a “perfect plan” is less important than the ability to make informed, speedy decisions and adapt to changes swiftly. This mindset not only helps navigate the current volatile business climate but also secures a lasting competitive advantage.


Implementing these strategies requires a departure from traditional long-term planning, favoring a more agile, responsive approach to leadership and organizational development. By prioritizing speed and flexibility in decision-making and execution, businesses can maintain their competitive edge in an ever-changing marketplace.


Lead with Emotional Safety®

Amazon Top-10 Business Book Step Up, Lead in Six Moments that Matter, is a guide to exercising leadership when it matters most, boosting your personal impact and effectiveness, and making a real difference while creating an emotionally safe culture. 


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