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About other players analysis

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An introduction to understanding our relationships with other players.

Most of us who work in charities and other non profits are juggling resources and the needs of our funders, whilst trying to keep a focus on our beneficiaries (service users, members, clients, customers). There is increasing pressure for us to work with other players (other organisations who work in the same field as we do) to cut costs and/or improve services.

Making the decision about who the important other players are and then considering the kind of relationship we want to have with them is a tough challenge. We’ll never do our best for our beneficiaries until we crack this challenge.

We have a number of resources for you to follow up on here; if you like books, read David La Piana's ‘Play to Win’ in which he outlines some helpful and different approaches.

Other player analysis

One way of meeting the challenge to better understand who the other players are and then consider what kind of relationship we want to have with them is to carry out other player analysis as part of strategic planning work. Other player analysis helps you:

  • understand who the key players are, and then understand more about their operation: why, what, how and for whom….their strengths and distinctiveness; their weaknesses and challenges
  • compare the work of your organisation with that of key other players – to help you consider whether you could collaborate with them, how you might compete with them, or consider how to best complement their work

If time is limited then there are some other player analysis basics which will help strategic decision making. If you have a bit more time, a number of different perspectives can be gained by using a range of tools.

Two really helpful ones – because they start with customers’ needs – are strategic group mapping (taking a market perspective on other players) and three circles analysis (looking at products and services of your organisation and another player through the eyes of the customer).

Should non profits compete?

Should voluntary and community sector organisations compete with each other? What are the arguments for and against? If you decide to do it, how can you do it well, in line with your values? Why not use the comments facility to add your ideas into the mix?

Collaboration options

If your decision is to create a closer, perhaps collaborative relationship with other players, we have developed a table of possible options.

How companies respond to competitors

Management theory suggests that companies facing serious competitive threats should extensively analyse how to fight back. Actual managers, however, say they are satisfied with the results of a less active approach, according to a McKinsey survey. Companies that understand how their competitors really react may be able to gain an edge.

Page last edited Apr 13, 2017

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