We may not be able to change our environment, but we absolutely can control the way we interact with it.  Great companies exercise a lot more influence than we think.  Whilst your hand may be firmly clutching the tiller do you have the confidence to steer? Do you really know when a bold manoeuvre is required or when sometimes steering straight is a much better option than veering off like your competitors?

We exercise control externally over the market and internally over our stakeholders

Controlling the market is actually a lot more straightforward than it sounds, but we cannot  control what customers actually need, only how those needs are satisfied.   That still gives us plenty of scope to:

–   suggest customers buy what we want them to buy to satisfy their needs

–  educate customers to want things that they were previously unaware of

–  pick and chose the customers that are right for us – see example

Each of these is really important for differentiation. When you are selling the same as everyone else, you are in the bait ball!

Controlling our stakeholders is for many managers the hardest thing.  Processes and computer programs are rational and predictable – if x then y always holds true.  People are far less rational, but in many ways just as predictable – we just need to understand what motivates them.  At its simplest culture is nothing more than aggregate motivation but it needs the whole team’s motivation to be aligned to get high performance.  You can exercise more influence by:

–   empowering our staff – see our change leaders program

–   partnering with people who can influence where you cannot