- Vision Directed - where the organization should have a clear direction about which way it is heading through "reading the future" of the markets and anticipating the changes that would take place and would influence the market dynamics. The organization needs a good working compass which points accurately to the directions to be followed in order to outsmart the competition, get to the customers first, and gain a bigger market share.
- Customer Driven - Years ago, management gurus began to warn organizations that they had become arrogant and self-satisfied, focused on giving the customers only what the companies wanted and losing sight of what they customers' needs actually were. The result was that major corporations like the automobile manufacturers lost market share to foreign competitors, at least until they eventually got aware enough and started crash enhancement programs of satisfying the customer.
- Innovative - We live in an age when organizations like to take great pride in their ability to adapt to change and pioneer innovation. During the eighteenth century, innovation was suspect, but with the constantly changing tastes and demands of the customers, new products and/or services became crucial to sustaining any organization. Customers loyalty and their sustainability cannot be build on the same product or service features for so long. Quick response to customers' needs became a vital organizational competency that maintain its competitiveness in the market.
- Flexible/Adaptive - there is no doubt nowadays that change became the only constant around us. That means business objectives and strategies cannot be clad mantled and remain constant. They have to respond promptly to the environmental influences and market dynamics changes. Otherwise, companies lose opportunities as their approaches become obsolete and not required nor "adopted" by the customers who would look somewhere else.
- Intellectual Capital Oriented - The quality of people decides the effectiveness of any organization. It is not enough to hire the best caliber people. An on-going investment in improving and developing people's skills and competencies is crucial in carrying out the organization's plans to build a strong culture, develop aggressive strategic goals, launching new products and services, and opening new markets. Employees are the internal customers of the organization and building a customer driven culture depends mainly on the way we value our HR, the intellectual capital of the organization. If turned into "business partners" through participation and trust, employees will assume ownership and contribute limitlessly to enhance organizational performance and its competitiveness.
- Knowledge Based - We are living the "information democracy" age. Information became equally available for those who seek to learn. But information alone would not turn organizations into "learning organizations"; it needs to be turned into knowledge so that we can apply on our jobs. Systems of the organizations of the 21st century are becoming more and more knowledge based where even employees compensation will be designed on how much knowledge they know and apply on their jobs. Being knowledge based will also make organizations keen to keep up-to-date on technological advances in order to modernize their systems to be able to deal with the enormous fast flow of information and make use of it.
There might be more to discuss on the characteristics of market leaders, organizations that become addicted to success, and fight hard to defend their domains and sustain their market leadership, but I thought the above features can be used as ground rules to build a strong organization.