Attaining A/E/C Market Prominence

September 4, 2009 · by Joe M. Powell

Research at the Rice University Building Institute reveals a dozen strategies for increased competitiveness.

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The Owners Dilemma

How Firms Succeed 5.0

12 Strategies for Increased Competitiveness

Predicting the future, no matter how much data you have, is a dicey proposition. Nonetheless, Rice University Building Institute’s work in this area would be largely useless if we couldn’t provide insight into how future market leaders are likely to acquire prominence.

Conventional wisdom tells us that yesterday’s leading A/E/C firms achieved their positions by consistently applying three practices:

• Aggressive personal networking • Effective competitive sales • Consistently performing as promised

Today’s game is more complex. We believe there are 12 performance characteristics, each requiring its own executable strategy, that will be essential to consistently outperforming the competition.

Strategy 1: Inspire with vision. Vision-driven companies attract better employees, function with greater purpose, and are more adept at holding the attention of high-value clients.

Strategy 2: Lead with values. Companies that genuinely nurture a culture of well-developed values are more effective in the marketplace.

Strategy 3: Focus competitive programs. Distractions are everywhere. We find that the fourth leading cause of failure among ventures less than five years old is a lack of competitiveness focus.

Strategy 4: Capture category ownership. Dominating a market category, even temporarily, can be handsomely profitable. Tomorrow’s market leaders will know how to shape new categories and declare ownership.

Strategy 5: Use persistent branding. Branding has been studied for years and yet few companies in the A/E/C industry regularly exploit its power.

Strategy 6: Create marketing breakthroughs. Tomorrow’s market leaders will develop the capacity to repeatedly win projects for which they are not the most qualified competitor.

Strategy 7: Exploit competitive intelligence. The next generation of market leaders will operate with more accurate information about the competitive landscape.

Strategy 8: Launch a competitive culture. The responsibility for tracking the competition, searching for new opportunities, and nurturing a competitive advantage must become the quest of every key employee.

Strategy 9: Establish customer intimacy. In a highly competitive environment, new market leaders must create techniques that will illuminate the unarticulated needs of high-value customers.

Strategy 10: Acquire and nurture high-impact people. Aspiring market leaders must create programs to identify, recruit, and manage people who are worth more than their pay.

Strategy 11: Develop a culture of obsessive improvement. Self-congratulatory ventures don’t long survive. The most successful competitors institutionalize the process of constant evaluation and growth.

Strategy 12: Formulate new strategic alliances. In the next several years, differentiation will be hard to achieve within the boundaries of any individual discipline. The next generation will create more efficient project delivery methods by exploiting the power of interdisciplinary collaboration.

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