All I Need to Know about Business I Learned from a Duck

Archive for November, 2011

Make’n Waves

Friday, November 11th, 2011

If you have spent any time on or near the ocean you are familiar with the fact that waves come in “sets”. Depending upon the conditions, sets can be small in size, and on rare occasions sometimes waves within a set can be enormous. Like the 90-foot wave that Garrett McNamara (GMAC, as he is also known) rode on Tuesday of this week to establish a new world record for the largest wave ever surfed (click on the incredible video, below).

The primary goal of any and all businesses, including not-for-profit organizations, is to create waves in the market place. I believe a business leader’s major responsibility is to create the conditions within an organization that will generate the biggest wave possible by strategically differentiating his or her company from competitors. According to Michael Porter, Marketing Guru (no relation), there are only two ways to accomplish that: choosing to perform activities differently or to perform different activities than rivals.

For example, Ikea, the global furniture retailer based in Sweden has differentiated itself from traditional furniture stores by performing activities differently (Ikea offers in-store childcare; despite the fact that Ikea is a “retailer”, it manufacturers and designs all of its modular, ready-to-assemble furniture; and customers are expected to do their own pick-up and delivery .. however, Ikea will sell you a roof rack for your car that you can return for a refund on your next visit!).

On the other hand, Southwest Airlines performs different activities than competitors by avoiding large airports in large cities; not flying great distances; and most recently they have successfully differentiated themselves with its corporate policy and strategic position that BAGS FLY FREE!

So here’s my question … Is your company merely creating a ripple in the market place, or are you generating a monster wave of product and service differentiation that you can ride now and into the future?

If you’re like me and are interested in knowing more about Garrett and big-wave riding, click HERE.