A condition is a situation with respect to circumstances. The term condition can be applied to a number of different arenas, from medicine (What is the patient’s condition?) to sports (What are the conditions of the golf course?). Before a physician prescribes a course of treatment for the patient, she will first want to understand their condition (symptoms, age, allergies, medical history, etc.). Writing a prescription for Amoxicillin for a patient that has a known allergy to that class of antibiotics would be unethical and dangerous.
Before a professional golfer selects a club to hit his tee shot, he’ll consult with his caddie on the conditions of the hole (wind speed, wind direction, slope of fairway, slope of green, etc.). Deciding to hit a 7-iron approach shot from 200 yards over a lake without accounting for the 20 mph headwind could cost a golfer the tournament title and thousands of dollars. In each instance, the prescription of treatment and the selection of golf club are conditional.
How would you describe your business condition? While the responses may range from optimistic to hopeless, your condition could be described as defender, challenger or spectator. A defender is a company, product or service that has market leadership and is in the position of guarding the business they have while growing. A challenger is a company, product or service that actively seeks ways to expand their business and profitably grow. A spectator is a “me-too” type of company, product or service that operates in either a constantly reactive or mind-numbingly passive way. The goals and strategies you set can be conditional, depending on which of these positions you find yourself in.
Taking into account the position in the competitive landscape when developing strategy means it’s conditional. Not taking into account the position in the competitive landscape when developing strategy means it’s moronic. Defender, challenger or spectator? Who are you and what are you going to do about it?