A new approach to business competitiveness

Who are we? Where are we heading? Nowadays there are many doubts and few are the answers; however, one thing is still certain: the best always wins. And the greatest challenge seems to be exactly this. How to be the best in a world in which rules and premises are being constantly questioned and altered?

For Zygmunt Bauman the world has become liquid. And it has become liquid because it is no longer immobilized, and it does not keep its form for a long time. According to him, everything, or almost everything, is in constant change. And it is not longer a novelty for anybody that we live under such instability. The business models of the so-called traditional economy are being called into question every day. It is interesting to observe that, contrary to what seems to be the case, such passages from an era to another do not happen overnight. They follow a succession of facts that, slowly, end up modifying the current social and economic dynamics and turning what had been before into something completely new and different.

Until the First World War, agricultural workforce was the large driving force behind national economies. Then came the First Industrial Revolution, and that workforce, centered before that in the countryside, slowly started to migrate to industrial centers. Workers in that new era (the Industrial one) multiplied themselves throughout the years and their income grew around 25 times, while their workload fell by half. Then came the Second World War and traditional industrial workers also started, little by little, to be replaced by another kind of worker: the knowledge worker.

Currently, we are going through what has been called by economists the Third Industrial Revolution. A period marked by the intensive use of new technologies. Real time information has become the main fuel of capitalism. Thousands of new business models, together with an increasing virtualization of work, have created the need for a specialized workforce never required before, and companies now have to deal with the challenge of employing that technological power in a systemic and synergetic way in their operational strategies. As we can easily see, keeping stability has become a huge challenge and the only certainty that seems likely certain to us, that is, that can be proven, is uncertainty”.

And what lessons can we learn from all of that? How can we deal with such adamant instability?

As regards that issue, the great German 18th century thinker Immanuel Kant can give us the first tip: “An individual’s intelligence is evaluated by the quantity of uncertainties he is able to support”.

A modern concept of competition

Perhaps the most important aspect of our concept – Winnability – lies in the fact that it poses a huge challenge to the corporate world’s standard mentality. After all, it starts from the strange premise that for someone to win it is not quite necessary that someone looses.

Such an approach, which may initially seem quite challenging, makes evident the fact that there is a fascinating idea between the lines. The idea that the future should be devised and built around true purposes, and thus that a competitive environment remains important but is strangely becoming secondary.

A quick survey on the meaning of competition provides us with the following definition: competition is a word that illustrates the interaction between individuals from a same species, or from different species, competing for something. That dispute might be for food, for a territory, for luminosity, etc., etc., and etc. So, the central concept around the meaning of competition seems to be that of an interaction that favors one in detriment of another, a selection process always involving a winner and a loser. It might represent, in a certain sense, an extinction process of individuals with low adaptation power. And that is exactly where our great conceptual challenge lies. We believe and defend the idea that both winning and loosing, in the current corporate environment, is merely an individual question.

Perhaps, the best sign of our approach is in the very definition of the word loser. What is a loser? A loser is someone who has been left in a disadvantageous situation, who has made a mistake along the way, who is no longer seen or heard. Being a loser does not necessarily presuppose that someone has done something to be in such a disadvantageous situation. A loser is, therefore, only the name given to the situation of those who tend to disappear.

Applying that thought to our current reflection, the fact is that the number of companies that potentially tend to disappear has really increased. Based on such an exclusive perspective, we are all about to face our own extinction or, as we prefer to say, we are all before a great TRANSFORMATION opportunity.

How to win in view of such a transition?

You may be asking yourself: what happens now? What should I do? Is there a structured way of dealing with all that? Our answer is yes.

Achieving competitive advantages in a market going through fast and complex transformations has required organizations to undertake a complete reformulation of their belief systems, thus providing new ways of interpreting situations and acting in this new scenario. And that is exactly where our approach – WINNABILITY – becomes relevant. It has been structured to deal with those issues in a simple and safe manner.

Text extracted from the book “Winnability”, by Gian Franco Rocchiccioli and Gisela Schulzinger.

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