“You obviously need to practice,” says Konnikova, “but natural abilities matter more.” This same principle is true in tech. What you do is not as important as who you are.
“All the great and inspiring leaders and organizations all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way,” says author and marketing consultant Simon Sinek. “Every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it….But very few people and organizations know why they do it….And by why, I mean what’s your purpose, what’s your cause, what’s your belief. Why does your organization exist?”
Leading tech companies succeed because they understand why they exist. They know who they are, so they act intentionally instead of reactively. And in this highly competitive market, being reactionary is a serious threat.
According to Ovum, competition is forcing many tech companies to react. In their report, 75 percent of respondents claimed to have lowered their prices because of competition. Sixty-seven percent said they’d rushed into new markets. Tellingly, 73 percent said that competition had forced them to reevaluate their value proposition.
For the most successful tech companies, this isn’t the case. If they enter a new market, it’s because doing so maps to a larger vision. If their prices are high, it’s because they understand the value they offer.
This is the heart of it: What is the value you’re offering? For tech companies, value has become the watchword. Products and services are important, but only because they deliver value to your customers.
At the Adobe 2016 Think Tank, focused on the future of digital experiences, former TIAA-CREF head of digital marketing Jaime Punishill explored this idea of value, using Rolls-Royce as an example:
“The way they’re making money now is with engine cycle uptime. They aren’t a manufacturer of jet engines. They aren’t a software provider for the maintenance or monitoring of jet engines. If that plane’s in the air because their jet engine is working, that is actually their value. They might have to build something, they might need software, they might need sensors…but really at the essence, that’s their value proposition.”
Tech companies are massively complex organizations. They blend B2B and B2C; produce and sell a huge variety of products through a vast network of channels; and rely on an intricate ecosystem of technologies, partners, and systems. It’s easy to get lost focusing on the individual pieces and to forget about the whole.
By focusing on the real value they have to offer — the why — successful tech companies approach this complexity with purpose and rise above their competitors.
For example, while tech companies obviously understand the value of technology, many aren’t using it with the kind of intention that characterizes the top brands.
“I studied companies that are undergoing digital transformation,” says Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group. “I would ask, ‘Hey, are you going through digital transformation?’ But then I asked ‘Do you know why?’ And only 25 percent of those companies had studied why they needed to go through digital transformation. Every time there’s a new trend, every time there’s some new technologies, some new movement — we all jump on it. But I don’t know that we leave behind the legacy standards, processes, philosophies, perspectives that sort of got us in trouble in the first place.”