“But my business is different!” Well actually, no it’s not. That’s an old leadership myth. I cannot even begin to count the number of times I’ve had a CEO tell me that certain immutable business principles just don’t apply to his/her business because “this business is different.” I don’t dispute that all businesses have certain unique characteristics or contextual differences – I don’t even dispute that recognizing and leveraging said differences are important.

What I do vehemently dispute is the assertion a particular nuance is a reasonable justification for flawed business logic to prevail. In today’s post, I’ll share why most businesses have far more in common than most executives and entrepreneurs care to admit. Marketing, Branding, Leadership, Sales, PR, Advertising, Business Development, Operations, Administration, Finance, Accounting, Information Technology, Human Resources, Innovation, and the list goes on…These functional areas are representative of things that all businesses must pay attention to. All business (for profit or not) provide goods, services, or intellectual property/capital to a market (or markets) for some form of consideration. All businesses have competition, serve stakeholders and other various constituencies, and must do certain things to avoid failure while on the path to creating a sustainable endeavor.

Let me give you a great example; It is not at all uncommon for an executive to tell me that his/her business doesn’t really have any competition. If you tell me that your business doesn’t have any competition, I don’t buy it. All businesses have competition at some level. If you don’t have direct competition, you’ll surely have indirect competition. You will also be competing to retain talented employees that other companies would like to lure away. What about competing against the innovation of others that could cause the obsolescence of your product or service? What about competing to maintain key business relationships with vendors, suppliers, partners and the like? How about competing for the attention of your existing and potential clients? I could go with this line of thinking, but I’ll assume that the point has been sufficiently made.

Moving on… Believe it or not, the CEO is not always synonymous with the all-knowing business guru. Even the savviest CEO may have blind spots in his or her skill sets, core competencies, or voids in the org chart which can also distort perspective. Even in this day and age, I still run into CEOs that don’t understand the value of leveraging technology, utilizing outsourcing to lower costs and improve efficiencies, the tremendous power that comes from embracing the Internet, the benefits of creating multiple distribution channels, the value of building brand equity, or any number of different issues.

Bottom line… Just because a business has a particular advantage doesn’t mean that it can disregard sound business logic. Moreover, just because a business has embraced a certain methodology or practice doesn’t mean that it cannot be improved upon, or perhaps that said business practice or methodology should even be disregarded in totality. Great businesses are in constant search of improvement, innovation, change, disruption, knowledge and other strategic leverage points that lead to a competitive advantage or operational enhancement.

Don’t fall into the rut of allowing your business to be trapped in a perpetual state of static thinking. Great businesses are dynamic, fluid, vibrant and ever-changing. Get outside of your old thought patterns and seek out people, technology, collaborative relationships, process enhancements, and any other solutions that can improve your business. Your business isn’t really different, but it can certainly become better.


Mike Myatt
Mike Myatt

Mike Myatt is a leadership advisor to Fortune 500 CEOs and their Boards of Directors. Widely regarded as America’s Top CEO Coach, he is recognized by Thinkers50 as a global authority on leadership. He is the bestselling author of Hacking Leadership (Wiley) and Leadership Matters… (OP), a Forbes leadership columnist, and is the Founder and Chairman at N2Growth.

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