How do today’s most successful companies stay on top?
Chances are, they outthink the competition, coming up with strategies that leave business rivals in the dust, said Kaihan Krippendorff, a FastCompany.com blogger, founding Fellow of the Center for Leadership and an adjunct professor at Florida International University’s (FIU) College of Business Administration. On February 3rd, Krippendorff shared lessons from his new book, Outthink the Competition: How a New Generation of Strategists Sees Options Others Ignore, in a workshop presented by the Eugenio Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center.
“The competition has grown rigid. They’ve stopped thinking. They will ignore and laugh at you,” he told a group of 60 students, faculty and community members assembled for the event. “By the time they want to fight you, you’re way ahead.”
Drawing inspiration from sources ranging from Eastern philosophy to American sports heroes, Krippendorff shared insights into a new playbook culled from hundreds of interviews with successful business leaders.
Speed, coordination, stewardship all needed for success.
Rather than focusing solely on economies of scale and best practices, Krippendorff sees a new set of strategies behind today’s most successful companies:
- Move early to the next battleground. “As Wayne Gretzky said, ‘Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it is,’” he said.
- Coordinate the uncoordinated. “McDonalds created a network of stay-at-home moms to take orders at drive-throughs,” he said. “Power comes from coordination.”
- Force two-front battles. Autodesk took AutoCAD, its engineering software, and repositioned it to create Maya, an animation program targeted at filmmakers. “Maya is responsible for every recent Best Visual Effects win at the Academy Awards,” he said.
- Be good. “Serve multiple stakeholders. Save the environment. Believe in something above maximizing profits,” Krippendorff said.
- Create something out of nothing. “Microsoft didn’t realize that Apple didn’t compete within the existing categories,” he said. “They created them.”
Krippendorff was introduced by Boris Hirmas, FIU’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, who provided lunch and books for students to have signed by the author.
“This was a very inspiring talk,” said Ileana M. Canizares, director of professional development for FIU’s International Business Honor Society (IBHS). “He motivated me to look into entrepreneurial goals, to think outside the box.”