Your greatest strategic opportunity is when your business environment is changing fast. In settled times, business comes down to a head-to-head direct fight for market share. With change all round, the rewards for strategic thinking have never been greater.
The business outlook becomes more and more uncertain every day. Where will we be in 6 months time, let alone 5 years?
The faster the environment changes, the more opportunities there are for strategic thinkers. Most strategic breakthroughs happen at a time of maximum change.
There is a direct analogy to the evolutionary theory of “punctured equilibrium”. This states that species remain static with little change for long periods of time. Then the environment changes, new competitors and food sources emerge, causing species evolve rapidly and quickly occupy new niches. Then they settle back into balance.
In a similar way, in static markets, there is little opportunity to step-out from head-to-head competition and differentiate yourself by strategically out-thinking the competition. Energy spent on strategic thinking could be safely redirected to operational efficiency in a totally static environment.
When the business environment is changing fast, there are always opportunities to anticipate customer needs, forge new partnerships, place bets where you think you can win big and take ownership of new market positions.
It is no accident that some of the best strategic thinking and concepts have come from the hi-tech industry, where you can lose your competitive advantage overnight.
Uncertainty and a rapidly changing environment are the friends of strategic thinkers.