“We’re not Apple, we’re in [fill in different industry].”

A bit back I was around someone who through out the phrase “We’re not Apple, we’re a Professional Services firm.”  (Thankfully not anyone that I work with.)  It really through me off guard to hear this because it seemed very limiting.  The context at the time was regarding how they go to market and present themselves.  It was as if no professional services firm would want to be thought of like Apple.

It astonishes me that there is any company in the world that wouldn’t want to be thought of as having a clear mission, being innovative, a desired place to work, cutting edge, high quality and having loyal customers.  To me that sounds like exactly what I want regardless of my industry.

Too often people fall into the trap of framing their organization based on current competitors.  Ten years ago no one would ever ask why would Nokia ever worry about Google – we all know how that story worked out though.  Ten years ago taxis didn’t need to worry about any competition – now look at them.

A modern truism: if you are not the innovator then you will be upset by a competitor that you haven’t even considered yet.  This is particularly true if you work in an analog industry that hasn’t adopted digital trends.

Probably 90+% of organizations would be doing themselves a favor by being a bit more like Apple.


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