Does your company have a strategy map?

Do you ever think about what makes Southwest Airlines different from United Airlines or Continental Airlines?  Well, if you were to jot down the unique characteristics of Southwest (e.g., low-cost tickets, no assigned seats, no first class, short flights, etc), then draw lines connecting to related characteristics (e.g., no frills traveling), you would see a graphic cloud of connected items aka strategy map if done right of course.  Sometimes it does not make sense for a company to copy  another company’s strategy because it may not fit with that company’s market positioning.  Would it be weird for Southwest to have first class seating like Continental?  Probably.

Also, the likelihood of a company copying every single unique characteristic of another company successfully is low.  Imagine that there’s a 90% chance that a company can copy another company’s unique characteristic and then times that by the number of characteristics.  The odds go down with each characteristic.  The next time that you think about your company’s strategy, consider what collection of unique characteristics makes your company different.

Some other references:

Sophia Perl

Sophia Perl is a product manager for a database tool at IBM. She has over 10 years of software development and management experience. Sophia holds a BS in Computer Science from University of Southern California and an MBA from University of California at Davis. She is the creator of iPhone apps PicPredict and Eventabulous.

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