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Element 3. Sustainable Differentiation > Score Elevation Tactics

Score Elevation Tactics

If a log rests on top of a barn, sooner or later the log wins and the barn falls. If you stand there with an unimproved product, time and competition will outweigh your carefully crafted barn. Good management with a concerted drive to sustain the enterprise’s uniquenesses should be able to prevail against the log, that is, the weight of competition, even if at first it appears that the uniqueness will fail. Careful hiring, partnering, or acquiring can all shore up a weak sustainability. However, just as certainly, if uniqueness cannot be sustained, you end up being the barn. Consider now what you will do to sustain your uniquenesses, including hiring, acquiring, and contracting. Here are some possible ways to elevate your score:

  1. Hiring a former executive of a company with a similar mission (e.g., if you are in the business of supplying recycled newspaper to a paper mill, you might hire a former executive of an industry that knows and understands the paper pulp process).

  2. Partnering with a like company that can broaden your offerings, extend your geographic reach, give you access to additional distribution facilities, or the like.

  3. Acquiring a company that performs an integral or ancillary function (e.g., if you plan to open a chain of dry cleaning stores, you might consider purchasing a commercial laundry facility) or that tacks a new technology onto your set of offerings.

  4. Research is often a key to sustaining your uniqueness because it is a constant search for revision or upgrades that would sustain your technological lead.

  5. Legislation is sometimes used as a means by which to erect barriers to competition. See Government Relevance on p. 283, which discusses government relations. Few things are more helpful in sustaining a uniqueness than an act of Congress.

  6. Litigation is a tactic that is often used if you can catch your competitor doing something wrong, such as stealing employees (tortuous interference with an enforceable contract), stealing secrets (theft of protectable intellectual property), or infringing on patent/trademark/copyright.

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