Great companies stand out from the rest. They are leaders who drive the direction of entire industry sectors. They are more highly valued than their competitors. Their customers embrace them and loyally support them through thick and thin. And every management team wants their company to be seen as one of the greats.
But what does it really take to be a great company? The management books written on great companies refer to “competitive advantage”, “sources of differentiation” and “customer centricity.” The problem is that this jargon refers to ends, not means. Competitive advantage is not an ingredient of success, it is an outcome of the process of achieving market leadership. True leaders have several points of differentiation, but that description provides no insight into how a company goes about differentiating itself. Being “close to the customer” is a feature of great organisations, but what did they actually do to become customer centric?
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