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How To Be a Supercompetitor

Kellogg Insight: “Say you’re a company looking to grow. You do not just want to be big. You want to dominate your industry. You are not just looking to compete. You are looking to be a supercompetitor. What does it take to make that leap?”

In a recent Strategy & Business article “on the evolution of supercompetitors across various industries, three Kellogg School professors… argue that becoming (and competing with) a supercompetitor requires new ways of thinking about strategy. Firms must adopt a laser-like focus on their capabilities, or the specified outcomes relevant to their business that they can consistently deliver.”

Key takeaways:

1. Know Thyself: Too many companies today simply try to ‘benchmark the broad market—they look at what others do and then they replicate or try to match those benchmarks’… This strategy tends to put too much emphasis on things that are important to other companies and not enough on a company’s own unique strengths.”

2. Stay Coherent: “The flip side of being clear about what you do well is recognizing what you do not do exceptionally well, cannot do well, or should not be doing at all.”

3. Look Outward: “Once an internal analysis gives a company a clearer look in the mirror, the firm should survey the industry to gain a better picture of its competitive makeup and opportunities. It is this analysis that determines to what extent the industry’s competitive logic encourages competition on highly scalable capabilities, making it ripe for supercompetitors.”

4. Find Enduring Advantages: “Finally, firms need to stay focused. Once a company has identified and refined their critical scalable capabilities, it must build capacity by directing capital investment toward those capabilities.”