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Outthink The Competition – Ease & Impact

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Feb 6, 2017

I’d like to apologize if you’ve been reading my blog.

In my efforts to educate, coach, and enlighten you, far too often I’ve been offering you far too many details and quotes from these Top Thought Leaders.  

From now on I promise to limit these blogs to 750 words or less, and tell you what I’ve learned rather than quoting and using their text in my blog so frequently. If they can say it better, I may still use the author’s words. I intend to hold myself to a higher standard of sharing from this point forward.

My intention is to share my words and thoughts on the subject, plus also provide you with a USE for TODAY suggestion with each blog.  Furthermore, wherever possible I intend to make this blog more entertaining. 

Forgive me, I will also be asking you to contact me consistently, to share these ideas, and coach you how to Scale Up your Business using Positioning Systems Strategic Discipline tools and resources.

Let’s take one final look at what we’ve been sharing from Outthink the Competition: How a New Generation of Strategists Sees Options Others Ignore by Kaihan Krippendorff.


Once you’ve accomplished the exercise shared in Outthink the Competition - Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive Components (MECE), according to Krippendorff your team should generate between 50 and 250 possible strategies.

Your next step is to select the first stratagem from your playbook, or any stratagem from the list of 36 in Appendix B (this are from Outthink the Competition).  Write down all ideas that come to mind. Then you repeat this with each of your ideas. 

Outthink the Competition (Four Quadrants) .jpgAnalyze (as you’ll see here with the four quadrants exercise) each strategy for Ease and Impact.  One of the most important questions to ask is, “How difficult would it be for the competition to copy this?”

Krippendorff recommends you assess how long it will take the competition to copy you, by consider the four levels of advantage (The four Cs), Conceive, Consider, Choose, Can’t.  Can’t is the most lethal to your competition and the greatest advantage to you. 

Sort your ideas into four types.  These are Winning Moves, Tactics, Time Wasters, and Crazy. 

Place them in sticky notes on the Four Quadrant sheet (See Picture)

  1. Winning moves: high-impact ideas that are easy to execute. Act on these immediately. Inexpensive, low risk, quick to execute, you may discover they can have a major, positive impact.
  2. Tactics: Easy to execute but will not significantly improve your situation. You may wish to execute these.
  3. Time wasters: Low impact and difficult to achieve. These ideas will waste resources. Remove to focus on higher-return efforts.
  4. Crazy: Ideas difficult to achieve. Yet could lead to significant strides. Krippendorff calls these “go to the moon” ideas. Companies frequently kill off these ideas. They are too hard to execute. Innovative companies keep these ideas alive. You don’t execute immediately. Innovative companies continue to discuss them, look for ways to improve their achievability. Krippendorff notes, if you don't keep them alive and figure out a way to make them work now, a more creative competitor may figure it out instead.

If you’re looking for a How to Do This, Krippendorff shared A Manual for Outthinking the Competition - Outthinker.  This year I will be working with several of my customers to help them discover How to Outthink their Competition.  As an alternative, if you’re looking for help on Innovative ideas as well as help Scaling Up your business using the Scaling Up principles and our Strategic Discipline tools, contact me at

Outthink the Competition (What Are Next 3 Steps).jpgIDENTIFY

Remove time wasters and tactics from discussion. focus discussion on how you can turn crazy ideas into winning moves. Krippendorff believes the magic is in the crazy ideas, ideas with true innovative potential.

Select two crazy ideas and discuss how you could make them more feasible. Crazy ideas have the potential to surprise your competition.  They can drive performance. Failing to explore them, you suffocate opportunity for greatness.

Spend at least five minutes exploring at least two crazy ideas. You are then ready to choose the three to seven ideas that you are committed to executing or validating.


In Adam Grant’s book Originals many ideas Grant shares to confirm Krippendorff’s Outthink the Competition. We visited Grant’s previous work, Give and Take, earlier. Are entrepreneurs greater risk takers?  Will learn what Grant’s surprising research shares next blog.

Topics: strategy, Innovation Process, strategy decisions, Innovation, OUTTHINK THE COMPETITION

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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Doug Wick, President

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

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