It is easy to debate what characteristics give one company a competitive advantage over another. It might be service quality, product quality, speed, flexibility, location, social footprint, technology and I’m sure you could offer more examples. Each of these characteristics are legitimate and some are more legitimate than others based on the industry and/or business conditions. But what is it really??
I’m convinced that the 2 most important characteristics contributing to an advantage over a competitor are “how fast you learn” and “how quickly and effectively you make decisions”.
How, and how fast, you learn as an organization will be the subject of discussions in the future. Decision making skill(s) is the subject of numerous books, articles (just search HBR), blogs, videos, etc. however, I think I can offer a few insights that can improve decision making.
When making decisions do you reflect on the past same or similar decisions? My experience suggests it’s likely not the case in most instances. Some questions you could ask before finalizing your decision are:
- Will your decision “neutralize” a prior decision? What’s different that caused you to override a prior decision?
- Will your decision “compound” another decision? Does it connect or “multiply” the effect.
- Does the decision “dismiss” another decision? What acts or actions must be examined because you rejected the decision?
This is a mental exercise similar in concept to an After Action Review that can help you both assess and improve the effectiveness of decisions.