Some people say that the key lesson of strategy has to do with speed. If you can think and act faster than your competition, you can stay one step ahead. Certainly speed is critical, but why do some firms take over the market after others do the pioneer work?
Other strategists say that the concentration of superior resources at the decisive point drives strategy: if you concentrate your resources, you are sure to win. But if superior resources are key, why do some firms with inferior resources beat stronger ones?
After studying great strategic thinkers, I’m convinced that neither resources nor speed are decisive. Some have abundant resources, others do not. Some companies operate at light speed, and it helps them. But others make it policy of not entering the market first and are still successful.
To discover the key lesson practiced by all great strategists, I interviewed more than 200 combat leaders from the military services and asked them, whatif anything they had learned from leading in combat that they applied successfully in their careers. Almost all included the idea of “uncommon commitment.”
What’s so special about uncommon commitment? People follow a leader with this quality for two reasons:
Extraordinary commitment affects the planning and implementation of strategy.
If you hope to implement your strategy successfully, you need to display uncommon commitment.