Being “Shiftable” Is the New Competitive Advantage


As Hendre Coetzee puts it, during the WBECS intro session shiftability™ is the “power or capability of a person to exercise personal transformation in any context” Usually, businesses are driven by a survivor’s mode when they only focus on how to increase revenue, reduce costs and lower risks. They act like a hiker trapped in quicksand: they don’t move to avoid drowning. They don’t know, either, what can be done to get them out of there. Actually, they get it backward: they fear the unknown so they stay in an unproductive, even dangerous known. It all started because they wanted to fix something. 

Shiftability™creates a new frame to think their business through; a frame that clarifies the known to bring people closer to the unknown. The more you can expand that edge, the larger is your playground. You start exploring instead of fixing things. It is the power of drawing from the future: “who do we want to become?”

The Shiftability™ of Our Post-Modern World

It is no surprise to say that our world has shifted drastically: technology has allowed people to work from everywhere and the new trend leads towards a gig-economy where contractors manage multiple clients and projects, instead of one company managing multiple jobs. Cycles and processes are shorter than before, clients know as much or even more than the company about their products, and complete stranger becomes your best sales force through growth hacking on social media.

The shift of mindset is that sales force has now to coach people into buying instead of providing information. It means that they need the agility of a coach to listen and adapt to any profile, any context, any limit and request. It becomes more and more a matter of relationship, which acts as the frame to explore the unknown.

How Shiftability™ Becomes the Competitive Advantage?

When you can transform yourself and your organization to any context whenever needed, you actually become more flexible and adaptable. It means that you can move quicker (which reduces costs of transition or lost sales due to missed opportunities), you can expand your range (and increase your revenue in ways that you couldn’t imagine before), and you create a strong dynamic based on trustworthy relationships that support flexibility (which is the way to mitigate risks).

The competitive advantage creates the right context and frame to shift from within at all levels instead of asking outside the extra help needed to shift. Instead of asking someone to throw you a chord to get you out of the quicksand, you create the agility to avoid the quicksand entirely or to create a structure that bypasses it.

A coach will help you get closer to the edge of the unknown by exploring who you want to become and “draw from the future to change behaviors today” (Coetzee).

Sara Bigwood
Change and Leadership Coach