Are you playing offense or defense? One need not be a sports aficionado to understand the nuances of approaching your business and/or your life from an offensive or defensive position. Advancements in technology, decades of global trade, pending tax reform and more sophisticated and dividend-hungry shareholders are disrupting industries and businesses across the globe.

Examples of defensive (and sometimes protectionist) actions include Whirlpool asking the US federal government to enact practices to protect them from the gains made in market share by LG when consumers’ buying habits indicate they prefer LG’s more elegant washers and dryers. Boeing’s reaction to Bombardier and the potential 300% surtax on C-Series Jets and the Canadian Dairy Famers’ reactions to potential changes to NAFTA and imports of US cheese and milk into Canada are all examples of defensive posturing.

Many of the political disruptions in recent years have resulted from voters seeking a return to the past – Brexit and Trump’s election are prime examples. “Slow or stop immigration.” “Return coal miners/automakers, fill in the blank…. to work, to the jobs of the past.” We are in a period of transition globally. Hanging on to the past, no matter how glorious it was, prevents us from identifying and leveraging opportunities.

Our world is being disrupted at a more rapid pace.

IBM’s Watson has the ability to rapidly diagnose diseases and ailments with a high degree of accuracy. This could revolutionize health care in developing countries and begs the question of whether we will truly have a physician shortage in 10 years.

In July, Dubai introduced new sky taxis that are essentially driverless flying single passenger drones. What issues does this create for air traffic control? What benefits could be incurred from airborne vehicles? Would this further contribute to the escalating demand for energy across the globe?

You have choices – in business and in your life. In your offices, are you discussing how and where you could be a disruptor?

If you determine that you may want to take an offensive position, ensure you take the time to explore and identify your strengths and differentiated value. This is a difficult exercise to complete independently. It is common to be unconsciously competent.

If your preferred strategic choice is to remain within the boundaries of your current business, that may be an appropriate choice. But before you close the book and consider that discussion to be complete, consider, “Where would a shareholder activist extract value?” Or if you are privately owned, consider, “What changes would private equity be likely to make?” One need look no further than CP Rail or Proctor and Gamble to realize that even a very good business can be made better – as measured by financial results.

My clients accelerate their results – increasing profitability, leadership performance, innovation, and accountability. I would love to discuss how I might contribute to your strategy. Contact me today.

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