Competitiveness is the world´s favourite word among economic, political, marketing, and managerial circles. The competitive vitality is the slogan of many campaigns, no matter which product they are advertising or which service they are offering. Kenichi Ohmae believes that competitive achievements are based upon the big old value: wisdom.
Wisdom is the state that results from an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, common sense and insight. It is the consequence of enlightenment due to the accumulation of experiences, both good and bad ones, in order to be used adequately and in our favour in the future.
After painful years with economic deceleration, the hard lesson that has to be learnt is that companies have to take advantage of their history. It is true, it takes a world class manufacturing, a rapid product development, mastery in distribution channels, extraordinary marketing plans to win, and yet in these few years we have found out that all of those concepts were not enough.
Conventional marketing approach was not the solution in the middle of a terrible economic crisis. There were companies that did not made it through relying on a good product with excellent quality, good price, set in the right place and an extraordinary publicity campaigns. Many businesses had to shut their doors and end their activities, simply because they did not have the correct strategy; but the ones that did, have a worthy lesson to profit from their experience.
Winning the battle of survival has a great deal of knowledge that must be transformed into a big asset for companies. The time and money that has been spent by the company along its operative life needs to be transformed into useful know-how. It has to be treated like the soil for the agriculture. After a bad crop, the field has to be refurnished in order to start the cycle again. The experience for an organization, no matter if facts and figures were not good, is like that piece of ground that could not achieve a good harvest but that still has nutrients that will come in handy for the next seeding.
Entrepreneurs have to be resourceful. Getting back to the battle field requires strategy. A strategic vision means dipping into a serious process of reflexion. It implies getting into a deep pool of understanding. It has to deal with the question: what is their core business about? The interrogation points out to clarify what they are standing for in the market and taking notice of the reasons that clients have to prefer our product instead of looking at the one our competitors are offering.
Brewing wisdom is going through an analytical process that brings us the information to understand our client. And not only that, it has to give us the information to understand that the main objective is to serve the client. Moreover, to offer the client a better service than the one our competitors are serving right now.
To start brewing wisdom in your company, you have to ask the right questions. You have to understand what the customer is looking for and the reasons that lead him to want it. It is imperative to be able to stand in his feet, to see his needs from his own perspective. That is a lot of homework, there is a great deal of data to be collected, and there is that need to compile, select and shape figures and facts in order to transform it into good information to be used as a base for decision taking.
Looking closely at a customer´s need, thinking deeply about the core business, is not an exotic process. Those are the main pieces of the basic sound of management. Yet, sometimes, executives, managers, owners forget this basic stuff. They get lost in a sea of financial strategies, tax planning, controlling policies and self-readiness. Why have some managers allowed themselves to drift so far away from what their real strategy should really be?
When no one has taken the time to think about how clients, people with various discomforts, feel; when nobody has reflected on which were the main strengths and weaknesses that customers felt we had, bad decisions are on the sight. Without understanding their needs, the companies find it easy to determine in the wrong direction.
Brewing wisdom is not allowing ourselves to guess what consumers want, is having the sense to go and ask them. And then, and just then, the strategic process will be in good terms to start.