The Five Pillars of the Soft Edge

Success in
business has traditionally meant having a strategy and excelling at the
hard skills. Controlling costs. Boosting speed. Effectively managing the supply
chain. Superior number-crunching and analytics. Most of today’s CEOs, CFOs, chief operating officers, boards of
directors, and shareholders speak the language of this hard edge. It’s their
comfort zone: numbers, metrics, analytics, logistics, strategies, and a
well-defined and easy-to-see ROI.

But today’s turbulent marketplace has taken much of the bite out
of the hard edge. Its very appeal, the fact that it can be
measured and quantified, also means it can be analyzed and copied by the
competition. To really get ahead, and stay there, a company must also master its “soft edge”—a powerful
competitive advantage that is made up of five pillars:

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