When you are behind in a marketplace, the worst thing you can do is try to catch up. That position in the marketplace that someone else holds is hard to compete with. Getting ahead of the competition comes from leapfrogging the current way things are done and offering a new and improved way to do things. So not only do you leap ahead, your competitors fall behind improving the distance between you and the nearest competitor.
The author of the book on Steven Jobs, Walter Isaacson, wrote an article in Harvard Business Review about leadership lessons from Jobs. He has several ideas and concepts and one that I really like and have seen work well is the idea of leapfrogging. He mentioned how Jobs felt very far behind in the music industry so Apple transformed the way music could be obtained and used – enter the leapfrogging combination of the iPod, iTunes and iTunes Store to manage, store and play music.
One thing I notice with clients planning is that they plan to do the same thing they have been doing only better. Leapfrogging and describing a leapfrog solution is incredibly important to your team. It encourages them to think beyond your competitors to a whole new place in the market.