You can gain significant competitive innovation through leveraging new opportunities with strategic intent. What is strategic intent? Shared through-out all levels of an organization, and sustained over 15 – 20 years, strategic intent is the collective will to achieve inspirational stretch targets.
CASE STUDY: STRATEGIC INTENT AT KOMATSU
Just how much gain can be achieved through competitive innovation? Let’s dial back to Japan in 1970 – struggling with lower basic resources, smaller manufacturing numbers, and lagging both Europe and the US in technology. Komatsu, at 35% the size of Caterpillar, boasted a product line of small bulldozers with limited distribution. Komatsu’s bold strategic intent to “encircle Caterpillar” (Hamel & Prahalad, 1985, p. 148), unleashed a competitive innovation storm. Komatsu set that 20 year intention when it had a small engine, limited international exposure. Fast forward to 1985, Komatsu = a $2.5B company in large earth moving equipment, semi-conductors, and industrial robots. Today Komatsu regularly eats Caterpillar’s lunch.
HOW CAN YOU LEVERAGE STRATEGIC INTENT TO ACHIEVE COMPETITIVE INNOVATION?
Your strategic intent target must meet the high-bar of being worthy for everyone to invest personal best-efforts. It must be impeccably communicated; it must have enough emotional punch to be sustained over a generation. 2 key ingredients are necessary to gain competitive innovation through strategic intent:
1. A criteria based & specific leadership goal.
2. Be tightly managed by deft process management.
WHAT ARE THE 5 KEY PROCESS STEPS NECESSARY TO DELIVER A WINNING STRATEGIC INTENT?
WHY USE STRATEGIC INTENT?
Being less prescriptive means you can take advantage of opportunities that you can’t know about, or anticipate at the beginning of the year.
Strategic intent takes you out of the myopic focus of the next month / quarter / year and into longer-term goals. Your team begins thinking more creatively about how to build long-term value that truly aligns to your strategic intent. Can you say this is true today?
Strategic intent encourages you to planfully invest in you and invest in your business. Deploy resources today to learn new skills, build additional capabilities, and to grow necessary bench strength for scale with thoughtful appreciation of reaping rewards that may take several years to evolve. Foundation building ensures it is there to soar from when you / your firm is at that level.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO BEGIN CRAFTING A WINNING STRATEGIC INTENT?
Start now! Establish your compelling 2030 – 3035 strategic intent. Ask yourself ‘what do I want to be true about my organization in 15 – 20 years?’ Here at Learn2, our goal is to change how the world learns. It is the filter we use for every decision we make and inspires each of us to drive competitive innovation!
If the goals are personal, what are the outcomes you seek from your contributions? Personally, I’m interested in leaving a legacy and having a positive impact. My personal strategic intent? I want to change how we lead our organizations and what we collectively define as great leadership. When I consider decisions from my strategic intent, I am open to emergent / fluid opportunities that present themselves vs being overly prescriptive of the activities that will deliver either legacy or impact.
If you, or your organization, is ready to embrace a game-changing strategic intent, the Learn2 team is here to support your success. Our award winning programs, like Inspire the Future, foster the alignment and results focus you need to gain competitive innovation through strategic intent. I am interested to hear where you land on your own strategic intent! Contact me to help out with your next steps.
~ Dr. Gail Johnson Morris