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The secret to beating the competition

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

When market dynamics change, how quickly can you respond? Here are three steps for pivoting faster than the competition:

1. Speed up your rhythm. Steve Woodard runs two tech companies, Quadrant Software and SoftBase. At both, he maintains crystal-clear goals, and communicates them frequently through meetings and an open-door policy.

A fast-paced rhythm is at the center of his communication. By having weekly and monthly meetings to review priorities, he keeps the drums beating louder and faster. He’s able to respond in a day to any changes in the market, because those frequent, short meetings reinforce priorities and strategy.

2. Build scenarios. Here’s one technique: Identify the top 10 internal and external drivers on which your business depends. Combine or eliminate drivers until you have just three.

Now, create 10 scenarios by considering what happens as those three ­drivers rise and fall. Plan for two to four of those scenarios—the ones that are most likely and that would have the biggest impact on your business.

The scenarios themselves should read like stories but with a strategic response at the end. Set up a tracking system that would allow you to see when one of your scenarios is emerging. If that happens, you can pull the appropriate scenario “story” from your back pocket. You’ll be ready to react while the competition is busy hatching a plan.

3. Monitor. What you need is a dashboard that can track the key metrics from step two, then review those metrics in the meetings you set up in step one.

— Adapted from “How To Pivot Faster Than Your Competition,” Kaihan Krippendorff, Fast Company Expert Blog.

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