Mission + Competitive Advantage = Your Organization Identity
This is a formula used by David La Piana in his book, Nonprofit Strategy Revolution.
Even though the book is about strategy for nonprofits, the concepts apply to the business world as well.
Mission is about your purpose and the impact you want to make with your organization’s services/products/programs. That is the same in all sectors.
Similarly, all organizations need to understand their Competitive Advantage – from a variety of perspectives. Conducting a Competitor Analysis – and updating it regularly – is a good way to evaluate your Competitive Advantage, and then sharpen it.
Typically, organizations will only look at other “competitors” who provide the same services/products/programs as they do. This is a good and important start. You can learn a lot from studying competitors. Perhaps you adopt some of their practices that you like or learn better how to differentiate yourselves.
But there are other aspects of “competition” to look at. How about your employees – and that includes volunteers if you are a nonprofit? How does your compensation (including benefits) compare to other possible employers? What about your culture and expectations – including telework options? If you are not competitive then you may lose people and fail at attracting the best talent.
For nonprofits, you also want to look at who is funding your competitors and other nonprofits, and when you consider individual donors – that can be a long list. A lot of people in the DC area enjoy going to The Kennedy Center. But nonprofit fundraisers have double the fun. They enjoy the show and they enjoy collecting the list of donor names in the program.
Creating your Organization Identity by sharpening your Mission and specifying your Competitive Advantage can be an excellent way to focus your strategy and then communicate it succinctly to your stakeholders.