How Business Coaching Can Help You Leapfrog Your Competition

Through my business coaching, I  lead a lot of strategy sessions for small and mid-sized companies who want to truly differentiate themselves from their competition.  I use a lot of different processes, including Blue Ocean Strategy.  Most most of my business coaching clients would like to know where their market is going before they plan their strategy.  They would like a crystal ball.  Wouldn’t you like to know where your industry will be in five or ten years?

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have a simple concept I use in my business coaching that I have found to be amazingly accurate.  My dear friend, Ron Fleisher, introduced me to it years ago and I have been using it ever sense.  It’s actually from a system of reasoning formulated by German philosopher Georg Hegel (1770–1831).  He says that each historical phase will be replaced by its opposite and that new (opposite) phase will be replaced by a resolution of the two extremes.

Huh?  That’s what my business coaching clients say until I explain further.  Let me give you an example of this formula applied to market dynamics, using something we are all familiar with:  pizza.  When I was a little girl growing up in Galveston, Texas, the only way you could get pizza was to drive to the local Italian restaurant and order it.  The Italian family who owned the restaurant would make it to order.  It took a while, but it was so delicious that no one cared about the wait.  We didn’t do this often, because it was actually fairly expensive.  Then, one day we walked into the local Piggly Wiggly and found something never seen before.  It was in the freezer section and it was a pizza!   Suddenly, we could have pizza at home.  I wasn’t a business coach back then, but even as a teenager, I could tell that this was innovative.  It was cheap and fast.  It didn’t taste great, but boy was it convenient.  A few years later, what happened?  Domino’s!  They would cook it, deliver it to our home, it was more expensive than frozen and less than eating out.  They didn’t promise great taste, but they did promise to deliver it in 30 minutes.

This is a great example of Hegel’s theory applied to free market dynamics. Here is a simple explanation I use in my business coaching:   Let’s call what exists the “thesis.”  The next market move with be the opposite, the “antithesis.”  The next market move will be “synthesis.”

Now, let’s go back to our example, and look at it through the eyes of a business coach applying Hegel’s theory.  The Italian restaurant pizza was the thesis and had these elements:  you go out to eat it; they cook it; the taste is great; it takes a long time; it’s expensive.  The next market move was frozen pizza, the antithesis, with these elements:  you eat it at home; you cook it; it doesn’t taste great; it’s quick; it’s cheap.  Every element of the antithesis is the opposite of the thesis.  The next market move,  Domino’s, was a synthesis:  you eat it at home; they cook it; it tastes okay, not great; it’s fast; it’s moderately priced.

Now we are starting to see how this works.  I love this because, as a business coach, it helps me see what my client’s markets will do.  You can use it, too.  Here’s what you do:

Business Coaching Tip #1:  Ask yourself what the elements are of your current market (the thesis).

Business Coaching Tip #2:  Ask yourself what the opposite of those elements would be (the antithesis).

Business Coaching Tip #3:  Ask what the synthesis of the thesis and antithesis would be.  What would those elements be?

This will give you a pretty good idea of where your market is going.

That’s important, but here’s the real key to using the theory.  Don’t make your next move the antithesis.  Make it the synthesis!  Your competition will move to antithesis.  Don’t go there.  Leapfrog them by going directly to synthesis.  You will be way ahead of the game.  If you go to antithesis you will only be keeping up with the competition.  That’s too expensive.  It doesn’t differentiate you at all.  You want to get ahead of the game.  I want my business coaching clients to be so far ahead of the competition that they don’t have to worry about competitive pressures.  I want you to be ahead of the game, as well.

With this simple thesis you can!  Apply it to your market and let me know what you find.  It’s an exciting, fast, free way to have a little bit of that crystal ball.

If you have owned a business for over three years and would like some help with this, I am happy to do a complimentary 30-minute business coaching session.

Nan O’Connor  Business Coach

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