What is the source of creating a sustainable competitive advantage?
What it is not: A greater, lesser, better, or different version of what you currently do in the present. It is not an improvement in existing services, product line, employee satisfaction, compensation, incentives, computerization, or other variations on the current how and what and who.
What it is: A new future – a future created from the future – grounded in the present and occurring for the relevant parties and stakeholders as significant, desirable, and critical to their self-expression. By a future created from the future, we mean a future that is not predictable or probable by virtue of the past. This new kind of future – one created from the future – is actually improbable, unlikely, but possible.
To create such a future one needs to step out of the paradigm – or structure of reality – in which they currently see their business, themselves, and life.
Stepping outside of an existing paradigm requires questioning old assumptions, conclusions, decisions, etc.—not to get new answers, but to reveal the limits of our thinking and perception. It takes a high degree of courage to live with the contradictions between our old views and whole new possibilities.
Human beings aren’t genetically encoded with just one way of seeing things or one way of doing things. The idea that we have a choice, a say, is a central precept of transformation. It’s a matter of getting our blind spots out of the way so there is nothing (no interpretations of the past or present) between us and that with which we’re engaging.
“A paradigm is a two-edged sword. When we swing it one way, it cuts the information that agrees with it into very fine, precise detail. But when we swing it the other way it will cut us away from information that runs counter to it.” ~ Joel Barker, Futurist
The paradigms we operate from block out specific elements of what we’re engaging in, and magnify others. That distorted perspective renders some things possible, some impossible, others not seen at all. We can change things within an existing paradigm and be quite effective for a while, but what we get is only incremental improvements. In the space of a new paradigm, there is a quantum leap in what is seen as possible, along with new opportunities and new pathways for breakthrough results.
The extraordinary executive knows that real breakthroughs – that is, sustainable competitive advantages – are a function of creating and operating in a new paradigm.
The competition can always eventually emulate new products or processes, but the ability to create and operate in a new paradigm cannot be imitated – it needs to be discovered. The Vanto Group methodology leaves executives with the ability to create and operate in new paradigms and thereby generate sustainable competitive advantages.