In his landmark book, Good To Great, Jim Collins provided a retrospective of the characteristics that propelled certain companies from “good to great” while comparable companies with similar opportunities failed to make the jump.
An example “great” company is Wells Fargo. In business since 1852, Wells Fargo has clearly established its ability to navigate change over the long term. Interestingly, a key factor in this ability has been its hiring policy. They focus on hiring exceptional people. It is a core value of the company, one which they call “people as a competitive advantage”. This premise, which Collins calls “First Who, Then What”, supports the belief that the right combination of talent -developed, retained and motivated – will be a key component in distinguishing themselves in their market, regardless of the changes they encounter.
Identifying the characteristics which distinguish a company from its competitors has never been more essential for success than it is now. The Internet and global media have drawn every industry in to international focus. With these changes come expanded opportunities, but also expanded exposure. If a company does not tell its own story, someone else may very well tell one about them.
The question has become not only how to stand out, but what do you want to stand out for. It’s critical that you establish and control how your business becomes distinguished in the marketplace.