As an underdog, it’s not likely we can win using conventional methods. If our competitors are already the best at what they do, we can either wait for them to move on, or find our own approach. Finding our own strength means going against what is expected and requires creative strategy. Many battles have been won by small armies (e.g. Trojan horse), new businesses have been revolutionary in a crowded market (e.g. Uber), and leading sports players have been outplayed by strategic underdogs (e.g. Michael Jordan). Often, finding our competitive edge relies on figuring out where our competition is weak, and then making that our strength. All giants have a weakness, it may be obvious or they may be hiding it well so will require some digging, but if we can find it and become strong in that area, it’s a huge advantage. In the case of Uber, the startup knew how frustrated customers were with unreliable taxi service, so made knowing where your ride is, and how long it will take to arrive, one of their key features.
Take action: Think of a winning goal you’d like to reach. What aspect of it do others not do well, and can you make that your strength? Perhaps you coach a kids’ softball team with average skills and you want them to win the championship this year. It’s not happening by traditional methods, so how else can you win? If you don’t have any home run hitters on the team, can you make your strength hitting consistent singles, advancing runners and scoring one run at a time?
Inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants