I claim that while organizations have to have ONE clear goal, bounded by several values or necessary conditions, humans may have more than one goal for their life.
The most critical personal conflict is between enjoying the moment and building the future. This is an ongoing conflict from the time we make decisions for ourselves until our death. The realization we are going to die contributes to the conflict, because if we won’t enjoy NOW it is not clear whether we’ll enjoy at all.
Once we decide to build a family a new dimension is added to the conflict: enjoy now, do for your family and do for your future. It is a three dimensional cloud!
The essence of “doing for our future” changes with age. At first the main objective is to establish good and long life of happiness. Then it slowly changes to the wish to leave something valuable after death. Children are a key in this respect, but also the wish to create value that would remain for very long time and keep us alive in the memory of others. Artists and politicians strive to achieve that feeling of immortality.
A way to evaporate the conflict is to enjoy now from what I do for my future. It could mean enjoy studying in school or enjoy working for our future career. Sometimes, but definitely not always, this enjoyment is real. But, even when we do really enjoy doing things for our future it evaporates only part of the conflict as we always have to do some things we definitely dislike. For instance, taking an exam or change the diapers of our baby.
In developing our future we gain capabilities that we hope would create something unique. Looking into the value we’d give to others in a way others are not able to. Being a devoted parent you strive to give value to your child that would be sustained throughout his or her life. If you work hard to develop a new business you like to give your future clients unique value. When you wish to be promoted you better strive to do something that would make a positive change to the organization you work for.
This is very similar to gaining a decisive competitive edge for an organization. It is a human need to be recognized as unique in a certain area for a specific group of people. The person has to differentiate himself from “competitors” by adding value the competitors are unable to. More, the person needs to be recognized as having the unique qualities that bring the extra value.
This means every person with a certain ambition for his future would do better if he/she develops a Strategy for what is required to achieve that goal.
This is what Goldratt called to live full and meaningful life. I have seen him many times asking young people what is their “dream” for the future, and immediately continue by asking them what they do to accomplish their dream. It was amazing to me to realize that too many young people expressed their dream, but it did not occur to them to plan what they need to do to materialize that dream.
The plan has to include the ONE key personal advantage that would generate unique value to the relevant people. The other parts of the personal Strategy should be how to handle the other dimensions of the personal life and how to radiate to others the personal qualities to convince them to collaborate. Remember that when you convince others you need to address the value for them to gain.
What do you think makes YOU special?
3 thoughts on “Developing our Own Personal Decisive Competitive Edge”
I (currently) agree with the idea of focusing on ONE personal advantage. I (currently) think that this advantage comes from a UNIQUE OVERLAP of several capabilities / circumstances. I don’t think you need to be the best in the world at one skill. I think the combination of several strong or even mediocre skills can give you a unique edge.
For me: software development, graphic design, clear writing, ability to abstract, and to think logically. I’m not the absolute best in the world at any of them individually, but I’m strong at all of them and together I think they’re potentially a powerful unique edge.
I LOVE this post and this topic. Anyone can apply ToC to themselves, anytime. I totally agree that a person in business (or service to others) needs to add value, uniquely. And to do this, they can only use what they have — whether advantages or disadvantages. I would argue that just delivering superior value to a targeted customer segment is sufficient. They don’t have to have, or believe they have, any personal advantage, or unique overlap. See The Melissa Case Study for an example: https://vimeo.com/219587361 . High value from no advantages (at least in the Los Angeles area, near Hollywood).
I would also ask, if a person can have multiple goals, why can’t a company? Especially a large multi-divisional multi-national company? I have never met a senior management team that did not think they had multiple goals. Are they wrong about their own goals? Even founders of small companies tell me they have multiple goals for their company, which they own,