How about your strategic competitiveness?

Burbank, California; March,2003;
Joan Marques, MBA, Doctoral Student

"It is the answer to problems that move people, organizations, and societies continuously ahead in our dynamic and very challenging world." (Schermerhorn, 2002, p. 474)

Mulling over the above statement from a management book I realized that indeed, many of the changes we go through are activated by problematic occurrences that force us to find a solution for an emerged crisis. And in our efforts toward finding the necessary solution, we then find ways to revitalize age-old processes and procedures into new, more efficient, and more advanced ones. And just as captured in the statement, these change processes don't just work that way for companies, but for people as well. When we think of people, we should not limit our thoughts to work floors either, but to the more private areas of life as well.

Once we learn to perceive the above painted picture in a broader setting than merely the business setting, we also realize that the popular buzz word "strategic competitiveness" does not have to limit itself to the professional environment either. Just like organizations can continuously find processes to reinvent themselves, and preferable their entire industry at the same time, so too can human beings accomplish that with themselves, and maybe their entire society! People can manage to reinvent their knowledge, skills, habits, and ways of performing on a continuous basis.

The topic of strategic competitiveness as a new mindset for all entities--companies and individuals--is one we should definitely take into consideration on our way to a more aggressive future. Everything becomes increasingly uncertain in our global society. Competition now emerges from every corner of the world, due to the increased accessibility to information by all these corners through the Internet. That means that companies as well as people are no longer just in competition with their immediate local rivals, but also the unknown ones in far away places. Now, the only way to keep up with the ongoing challenges we are facing is to change continuously: to update and upgrade ourselves, make ourselves multi-applicable, and multi-adaptable.

In our current days, change can no longer merely be generated by problems as stated in the opening sentence of this article, but it should be part of our daily routine. The encouraging factor here is that change does not always have to be immense. Small, incremental changes, no matter how often ridiculed by strategic gurus, can still ultimately lead to an entire metamorphosis! Not that we should avoid the larger transformations if they present themselves, of course, but by familiarizing ourselves with small chunks of change on a continuous basis, the habit of changing will lead to acquaintance with newness, which means that the more radical changes will be easier to visualize, when the responsibility to fabricate them is on our side, or absorb, when they are imposed upon us.

And here is where the phenomenon "strategic competitiveness" really starts making sense: if we learn to see ourselves as a learning organization, meaning one that constantly innovates itself and all the ones involved, we also get to master our strategic competitiveness, which will enable ourselves to effortlessly leave the less-flexible constituents in the field--any field we're moving in--far behind us. For strategic competitiveness is nothing else than competitiveness that goes beyond continuous product- or process-innovation: it encompasses the entire existence--and all the facets thereby--of the "organization," whether that is your workplace, your club, family, or yourself.