Your "Unfair" Competitive Advantage

Your great value to the organization is linked to one of its most pressing, on-going needs.

By Brent Filson - 5/2008

A smashingly successful investor told me he had an "unfair competitive advantage" in the marketplace.

An "unfair competitive advantage" is not illegal or unethical or unjust, it’s simply an advantage so superior it puts your competition in a hole that doesn’t have much of a bottom.

The investor’s realization can be your overwhelming advantage as a learning leader in the competitions you face both in your job and career.

He said, "I had average knowledge about markets and all the technical stuff of investing. But I had exceptional knowledge in one thing. I could spot money-makers when I saw them. That was my unfair competitive advantage. I remember telling one young man who came to me with a business plan, ‘I don’t like your plan. But I like you. So, I’ll give you the money.’ He went on to lead the company he founded to worldwide success."

Let this be your lesson. When you can spot money makers (not just the rainmakers, of course, but those employees of whatever rank and function who add terrific value to your company), when you can help develop their skills, when you can do the things that make them want to stay in your company, you yourself are providing terrific value in your professional role; for the investor knew what you know, the true wealth of any company is not in infrastructure, market capital or investment ratios, the true wealth of any company goes out the doors at the end of the day.

Clearly, learning leaders can provide a range of offerings to help attract, develop, and retain exceptional employees—from to training to action learning.

But the best thing you do, your own unfair competitive advantage, lies in the realm of leadership.

To explain why and how you can actualize it and have it boost your value in the eyes of the people you interact with, I’ll describe a principle, then a process.

First, the principle: As you know, leadership drives job performance and career advancement like no other dynamic. People not interested in developing their leadership abilities won’t get far in the careers. Top jobs come to people who not only have the requisite skills but are also the most effective leaders.

All companies are desperate all the time for good leaders.

So, when people know that their coming to your company and staying there will improve their leadership skills in ways they may not achieve any where else, you have an unfair competitive advantage in bringing them into your organization and keeping them there.

Now the process: make the absolute best leadership program in your industry. Take these steps to insure that a leadership program is a beacon to your industry and a magnate for the people in your company.

1) Keep Focused: It should be based on a single compelling idea that can rally understanding and support from every corner of your company. I suggest that idea be motivational leadership. The idea that leaders do nothing more important than get results and the best way for them to get results is not to order people to go from A to B but to have those people want to go from A to B. Out of that "want to" great results flow. And instilling that want to should be the defining feature of your program no matter how extensive or complex it becomes.

Go here to see the three main drivers of employee motivation.

2) Be Comprehensive: Your programs must reach all ranks and functions of leaders and even those employees who are not yet—but intend to be—leaders. Finally, those programs must be integrated into your company’s succession planning.

Go here to see how your programs can drive a Leadership Strategy.

3) Promote Synergies: The comprehensive nature of the programs must also promote deep interactions between programs and between all functions of your company.

The fundamental leadership principles and processes must be shared by leaders of all functions and ranks.

Leaders must be given the freedom and the latitude to critique the leadership of others, even those higher in rank.

Leaders should be certified to help instruct the programs, especially in cross-functional environments.

Go here to see how you can make learning stick.

4) Produce Measurable, Business Results:  The programs must continually produce increases in hard, measured results—more results than if they did not exist. Your comprehensive, interlocking, systematic programs should prompt employees to say, "If you want to really know about leadership, if you want to become the best leader you can be while you’re part of a results-oriented organization, join us."

Which means that as a learning leader, you should also be a "rain-maker."

5) Communicate Extensively: It is not enough to have a great leadership program. Its outstanding qualities must be communicated inside and outside the company: to inter and intra-functions, to customers, industry analysts and industry leaders, and the general public. These communications can be done with white papers, data sheets, newsletters, press releases, and case-history articles. Company leaders can give seminars in the community and be interviewed in the media on your brand of leadership and the programs instituted to bring that leadership into the daily lives of leaders of all ranks and functions. For instance, the fact that your company has a comprehensive, interlocking, results-producing leadership program should be communicated to security analysts. Publicizing that your programs consistently achieve increases in money saved/earned can help boost stock price, or if you are a private company, the capital value of your organization in the industry.

Go here to see how to blow your own leadership horn.

When you stay focused on identifying "money makers," bringing them into your company, developing their leadership skills, and communicating your activities inside and outside the company, you’ll see stunning transformations taking place in your job, your career and your life.

2008 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Note from Brent Filson: To make a difference, be the difference. Through the good offices of your learning leadership, your company can attract, retain, and develop great employees. You are the difference your company wants to make. Please call, and let’s talk about how I can help you and your clients seize those opportunities in comprehensive, systematic ways.

$50,000 Guarantee:
I can help your individual leaders boost their job and career performance. For instance, check out our one-day Leadership Talk sessions that comes with a $50,000 guarantee.

Here’s a one-day session for leaders.

Here’s a one-day session for sales/marketing leaders.

Business Results:

Leadership is too important for the advancement of your client’s job performances and careers and also for the success of your company to have leadership development simply fulfill training objectives. For the past 22+ years, I’ve been helping leaders of all ranks and functions worldwide get great business results.

"Brent Filson knows how to help others get results! His programs are proven in a variety of settings including industry, government, non-profit and the military proving that the way he practices and coaches leadership can work for any organization willing to invest the time and energy necessary to influence their people to produce at their highest productivity levels.”
—Joe Javorski, Director, Worldwide Staffing, Analog Devices

Total Systems Solutions:

I can also help you help your leaders develop and execute unique, customized, total-solution systems for every function of your business.

“One of the key components of Brent’s methodologies is their tremendous value in driving monumental change through the leadership of others in the matrix supporting your cause. The actions of developing cause leaders has allowed ordinary teams in my organization to achieve extraordinary results.”
—Robert Cancalosi, Global General Manager, General Electric Medical

Lots Of Help On My Web Site:

On my web site, you’ll find many of my books, articles, interviews, course descriptions, and instruction methodologies that will help you in many ways boost your job performance and advance your career by helping your clients get the right results in the right ways.

Best wishes,

Brent Filson
Brent Filson