Research has shown that the average corporate acquisition destroys value.
…the firms that are outstanding at Mergers and Acquisitions use this skill as a significant point of strategic difference.
Research has shown that the average job interview yields no usable data on whether or not you should hire someone.
…there are people and firms that are outstanding at interviewing and use this skill as a significant point of strategic difference.
Research has shown that the average return on innovation is positive, but small.
…you know where this is going by now.
Being average at these skills doesn’t do you any good at all. But being awesome at them can make all the difference. Outliers drive the overall performance of most systems based on human interaction, including business.
This reminds me again of Different by Youngme Moon.
She argues that lopsided beats well-rounded:
The truth of the matter is, true differentiation—sustainable differentiation—is rarely a function of well-roundedness; it is typically a function of lopsidedness.
…if Hummer were to come out with an advertising campaign boasting a family-friendly ride, it would hurt its claim to being the toughest motherf*cker on the road. If Ferrari were to come out with an advertising campaign that underscored its commitment to child safety, it would hurt its claim to being the baddest sports car on the market. Negative trade-offs are not only a marker of excellence, they are a marker of differentiation. This is as true for products and brands as it is for brain surgeons.
For businesses, however, the impulse to move to a more well-rounded output can be hard to resist. And the cumulative effect of this, in too many cases, is a herdlike regression toward the mean. As I write this, Starbucks is experimenting with offering breakfast value meals in its coffee shops while McDonald’s is experimenting with putting coffee bars in its fast-food outlets.
We must be different. We must be lopsided.
No more herdlike regression toward the mean – we must find the things that at which we’re great, and build on those.