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  • Writer's pictureNick Leach

Compete to be unique not the best. Purpose can help you differentiate and stand out from the crowd

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Standing out, being unique
Standing out, being unique

This quote from Michael Porter carries a profound message, one that many companies often misunderstand. They aspire to be the "best in class" or "top of the charts," which may appear to be commendable goals. However, they frequently overlook the essential aspect of how to attain these objectives. When employees encounter this mindset, they quickly grasp their bosses' perspective: 'If we all work harder, we can achieve this.'

Having a clear and customer-aligned purpose can make an enormous difference when you integrate it into your organization's business and product strategies. During my leadership in the pharmaceutical industry, our purpose was 'an unstoppable drive to restore people's lives.' This meant that the restoration of life and wellness became the focal point of all our business strategies.

This approach set us apart from our competitors and even influenced how we structured reimbursement with Pharmac, resulting in remarkable success. Consequently, our company became the largest pharmaceutical company in New Zealand. It's worth noting that if we had initially set out to become the largest pharma company, we likely would never have achieved it.

Ironically, the leader who succeeded me was more focused on profit and loss (P&L). He referred to our approach as 'Kumbaya,' and unfortunately, he not only lost the business but also his job."

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