Why How We Do Anything Means Everything

In this networked global economy, it is getting harder for organizations and individuals to succeed just on the basis of what they produce or the services they provide. If you make something new (or better, faster, and/or cheaper), the competition quickly comes up with a way to make it still better and deliver it at the same or an even lower price. Customers instantly compare price, features, quality, and service, effectively rendering almost every “what” a commodity.

At the same time, in our hyperconnected, hypertransparent world, there is no longer such a thing as private behavior. Information about your actions travels instantly to any interested party, people watching you will judge not just what you do but how you do it.

How you behave, how you consume, how you build trust in your relationships, and how you relate to others now matters more than ever and in ways it never has before.

The hows of human conduct are the determining factor in long-term success. It is harder now to innovate the what. There is no secret to the what; the secret is in the how. They can know our model, but they cannot do it. They can’t copy our hows.

To build and sustain long-term success in the new socioeconomic conditions that define our world, you must embrace a new power, the power, in human conduct, the power in how. The how of culture has five parts: how we know, how we behave, how we relate, how we recognize, and how we pursue.

Summing-up: It is no longer what you do that matters most and sets you apart from others, but how you do what you do. Whats are commodities, easily duplicated or reverse-engineered. Sustainable advantage and enduring success for organizations and the people who work for them now lie in the realm of how, the new frontier of conduct.

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