Competitive Edge
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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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One question from Warren Buffett made Bill Gates completely rethink Microsoft

One question from Warren Buffett made Bill Gates completely rethink Microsoft | Competitive Edge |
At a January event to celebrate 25 years of friendship, Bill Gates revealed that a question from Warren Buffett helped make Microsoft a powerhouse of the '90s.

In a January conversation between the billionaire philanthropists to celebrate 25 years of friendship, moderator Charlie Rose asked each what surprised him the most about the another. Gates eagerly fielded the question. Read more: click image or title.



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Growthink teaches how to FUND, build, grow, and sell a great business:

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Two giants respect and admire each other. This article sheds some light on that.

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A Rigid Mind Blocks Success. Try These 5 Strategies for Fearless Leadership.

A Rigid Mind Blocks Success. Try These 5 Strategies for Fearless Leadership. | Competitive Edge |
Be ready to set aside methods of the past. Bring vigorous, flowing thinking to conquer today's problems.

Rigid thinking is natural to the human psyche. This rigidity causes people to repeatedly apply the same behaviors over and over to diverse business situations. The reality is that people are the most comfortable doing what they know orhave done in the past.

The challenge that arises is that diverse problems require varied responses, yet human beings are especially prone to doing what they're familiar with because it doesn’t awaken any fear.

Fear leads to rigid thinking and subsequently blocks abundance. This is how people get stuck in self-doubt, confusion and stress and their energy drains away as they dip into despondency and frustration.

These psychological states of mind are the reason many aspiring leaders quit. They cannot move past the fact that the approaches they think should work don’t. And so self-doubt and fear take over and the entrepreneurs feel blocked. Successful leaders wage war on these habituated patterns and this, in turn, leads to their success.

1. Breaking mental patterns.

Successful leaders fight against their habitual tendencies. They force themselves to react to what's happening in the present moment without going back and trying to apply past philosophies.

Great leaders know that in order to be successful they have to be hard-nosed ahd not letting their reactive emotional responses get in the way of a current business opportunity. They are adept at yanking themselves away from using the same tired methods, even when it involves risk and invokes fear. They are clear that everything they want exists on the other side of fear and so they jump.  

2. Creating shock. 

In moving away from rigid and safe decision-making responses, great leaders are aware that while they might sacrifice emotional comfort and security, they will gain the element of surprise.

Because they can be flexible in the present, they are unpredictable. This is powerful for leadership and success as their creating shock doesn’t allow customers, competitors and strategic partners to know what they will do next. This creates further interest and fascination with the entrepreneur and also generates awe and respect. Shock inspires people to pay close attention and want to follow.

3. Using mindfulness.

Successful leaders are clear that being elite in a field is not just about having knowledge.

When a deal is lost, the problem is often not because a person thought of a solution too late. Some individuals will ruminate, “If only I had had more knowledge.”

Successful leaders know this is an incorrect approach. What creates failure   is not being mindful of the present moment. Great leaders refrain from getting lost listening to their own thoughts, reacting to things that happened in the past and habitually applying prior concepts and ideas to the present, which might have little relevance to what the situation is calling for.

They are able to intuit and stay attuned to the demands of a current deal, letting them spontaneously figure out what needs to be accomplished (which may be entirely different from similar prior negotiations). 

4. Embracing the unexpected.

Accomplished leaders dispel the myth of preparation as being the greatest strategy for success. Top leaders know that no amount of thinking in advance can prepare them for the chaos of business or the infinite opportunities of today's deal.

The current negotiation is completely new and full of possibility -- which a fixed mind won't be able to see. The present moment is fresh and always brings uncertainty and great leaders know their minds have to keep up with change and adapt to elements that are unexpected.

In this way, knowledge, experience and theory have limitations and can be deterrents to seizing and keeping up with unexpected changes arisng from the present arrangement.5. Developing a flowing mind.

Successful leaders view the mind through the metaphor of a river. The faster the mind can flow, the better it keeps up with the present and responds to change. The faster it flows, the more it refreshes itself and the greater the momentum.

Fixated thoughts, past experiences (whether successes or failures) and rigid ideas act as boulders in this river, damming it up. When blocked, the river stops moving and stagnation sets in. For this reason, great leaders wage war on their mind so it's open to the flow and keeps up with the creativity of the present opportunity on the line.

To improve leadership skills and become an esteemed leader, a person must shed old traditions and misconceptions. Strategy does not involve learning a series of steps to follow like a recipe because success has no magic formula.

To lead effectively, people must learn to become their own strategists, based on intuition and relying on new and unused tactics. They have to take chances that may not at first seem to make sense.

The greatest leaders, the most creative tacticians stand out not because they have more knowledge but because they are able when necessary to drop their preconceived notions and focus intensely on the present moment and all it has to offer. That is how creativity is sparked and new possibilities in business are seized.

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How Underdogs Can Win

How Underdogs Can Win | Competitive Edge |

When Vivek Ranadivé decided to coach his daughter Anjali’s basketball team, he settled on two principles. The first was that he would never raise his voice. This was National Junior Basketball—the Little League of basketball. The team was made up mostly of twelve-year-olds, and twelve-year-olds, he knew from experience, did not respond well to shouting. He would conduct business on the basketball court, he decided, the same way he conducted business at his software firm. He would speak calmly and softly, and convince the girls of the wisdom of his approach with appeals to reason and common sense.

The second principle was more important. Ranadivé was puzzled by the way Americans played basketball. He is from Mumbai. He grew up with cricket and soccer. He would never forget the first time he saw a basketball game. He thought it was mindless. Team A would score and then immediately retreat to its own end of the court. Team B would inbound the ball and dribble it into Team A’s end, where Team A was patiently waiting. Then the process would reverse itself. A basketball court was ninety-four feet long. But most of the time a team defended only about twenty-four feet of that, conceding the other seventy feet. Occasionally, teams would play a full-court press—that is, they would contest their opponent’s attempt to advance the ball up the court. But they would do it for only a few minutes at a time. It was as if there were a kind of conspiracy in the basketball world about the way the game ought to be played, and Ranadivé thought that that conspiracy had the effect of widening the gap between good teams and weak teams. Good teams, after all, had players who were tall and could dribble and shoot well; they could crisply execute their carefully prepared plays in their opponent’s end. Why, then, did weak teams play in a way that made it easy for good teams to do the very things that made them so good?

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Via Richard Platt
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Yes, long story, but really interesting. Change the way the game is played, or the business is done, and you increase your chances of winning.

Richard Platt's curator insight, June 21, 2014 7:13 PM

A lengthy but worthwhile read from Malcom Gladwell - Bottom Line: Don't play by the other guys' rules and you can win 63.5% of the time, this is based on you and your firm's capability not necessarily the effort, and only in specific areas of your opponent's blind spots

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What You Need to Know to Compete With the Surging Sharing Economy

What You Need to Know to Compete With the Surging Sharing Economy | Competitive Edge |
By 2017, 80 percent of U.S. consumers will be using services from peer-to-peer collaborative companies. Here's what you need to know if you aren't Uber or Airbnb.

The sharing economy is a force to be reckoned with. All around the globe, consumers are using their phones to book what they need in an instant -- whether it’s a ride across town or a place to stay for the weekend. But as the peer-to-peer economy continues to expand, companies that fail to adapt could be putting themselves in jeopardy.

“Unless you can offer similar services, your business is vulnerable,” reads a new report co-written by the sharing economy expert Jeremiah Owyang and tech strategist a Alexandra Samuel. “Mobile-enabled, on-demand, customized products and services are fast becoming the new normal, and companies that fail to offer customers what they want, when and how they want it, are in ever-greater peril.”

The report, titled The New Rules of the Collaborative Economy, is the result of a survey of more than 50,000 consumers in North America. It was commissioned by cloud-based customer intelligence software company Vision Critical.  

There are more than 110 million North American consumers using the sharing economy, according to the report. That’s up 25 percent from a year ago, and the participation rate is only projected to climb. More than half of U.S. consumers will be using the collaborative economy in the next year. By 2017, that figure is expected to jump to 80 percent. Read more: click image or title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The essence of doing business becomes more prominent again. Bring value, at a competitive price, and treat your clients exceptionally well.

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Is Work Killing You? In China, Workers Die at Their Desks

Is Work Killing You? In China, Workers Die at Their Desks | Competitive Edge |
Chinese banking regulator Li Jianhua literally worked himself to death. After 26 years of “always putting the cause of the party and the people” first, his employer said this month, the 48-year-old official died rushing to finish a report before the sun came up.

China is facing an epidemic of overwork, to hear the state-controlled press and Chinese social media tell it. About 600,000 Chinese a year die from working too hard, according to the China Youth Daily. China Radio International in April reported a toll of 1,600 every day.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Dedication to 'work' is very different in countries such as Korea, China,  Japan... However, a balance is necessary. Dead workers aren't helpful anymore for the company!

I have personally seen in the education system how some Asian kids are brought up in a very different culture, very demanding...

They get great results, but apparently, they pay a huge price.

THE *OFFICIAL ANDREASCY*'s curator insight, June 30, 2014 12:18 AM

About 600,000 Chinese a year die from working too hard, according to the China Youth Daily newspaper.