I've been a management consultant, run companies for nearly two decades, and worshiped at the altar of competitive advantage. But I might boil a lot advice down to:
Strategy and execution are absolutely essential.
But passion wins.
Passion wins because it's the foundation upon which all other pillars are built.
Passion ignites plans.
Passion drives action.
Twenty years of learning and much of it distilled into two words.
In the last four years, we've completed more than 100 acquisitions. I recently spoke about the six common characteristics that these successful internet businesses share and indicated that the transformational ingredient for each business is passion. Each of these entrepreneurs won their spaces by applying more passion to their businesses than their competitors.
Passion does not substitute for other key ingredients, such as a clear strategic focus or a differentiated offering. But passion is what makes it happen.
I highly recommend a recent fabulous piece by John Hagel about passion in business.
John raises the issue about how to create or maintain passion in larger corporate settings. I think it starts at the top. Leaders must be risk-taking, idea-pushing, energy-enhancing, passion-propogating believers in the cause-- not just process leaders. If that sounds like a fine line between insanity and success, such is the nature of passion.
The key is to balance passion with process; see my post: how passion wins.