“You are unique, just like everybody else” is a quote that has a somewhat ambiguous origin. Some ascribe it to Jim Wright, others to Margaret Mead, however, it does have profound meaning when you use it as a lens to view yourself and your organization. You are unique, but remember, so are others. The key is to know HOW you are unique. The answer comes by looking at yourself and your organization with a strategic perspective.

I cannot count the number of times I have heard, “We are different” or “We are unique”. I agree. I hope you are different. If you are not unique, are you really necessary? The key is to determine what sets you apart. What makes you different and how can you use this to seize opportunities that are present?

A few years ago a client was discussing using Trulight for a cyber security assessment. He asked me point blank – “I have talked to several security firms, what makes you different?” I was able to answer, “Trulight utilizes military trained cyber professionals that are skilled offensive operators. Those operators are now using their offensive skill and knowledge to strengthen the cyber defenses of our clients.”  We had an answer because Trulight had walked through a strategic analysis that allowed us to view our strengths and weaknesses in an honest and thoughtful way. By truly evaluating our strengths and weaknesses, we can determine the differences that set us apart.

Every organization should perform an honest assessment of what makes them different. A clear picture will emerge if you take a raw and unfiltered look at your strengths and weaknesses as an organization. (Every organization has both, don’t be too proud to admit weaknesses). Based on your honest assessment, look for opportunities that will allow you to utilize your strengths. Also, take a hard look for threats that might compromise your weaknesses. The resulting analysis of Strengths/Opportunities and Weaknesses/Threats will provide a strong foundation for a Strategic assessment that will tell you HOW you are unique and what you should do to capitalize on those differences.

If this looks like a version of SWOT analysis, that is because it is. An honest SWOT will give you a running start toward a strategic plan that can position you to take advantage of opportunities and minimize threats.

Yes, you are unique just like everybody else is true. What allows some organizations to thrive is knowing what makes them unique. Utilizing this technique on an organizational basis will provide significant results. Utilizing it on a personal level may open your eyes to opportunities that you did not know existed.