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Quality Digest: “Pushing Past the Strategic Sweet Spot: Incorporating Your Customer’s Perspective”

by | Jun 22, 2021 | In the News

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On, Karla Raines describes her journey from the world of industrial engineering to the world of strategy consulting. Over an impressive career, she’s realized that without a compelling uniqueness, your company risks being essentially equivalent, or worse, misunderstood, by savvy customers. Confused or disinterested customers will pursue other options. It’s easier than ever to lose a customer to an unknown competitor that is a scroll, click, or keyword search away, thanks to the power of smartphones.

Read more in Pushing Past the Strategic Sweet Spot: Incorporating Your Customer’s Perspective.”


Total quality management (TQM) was in vogue during my undergraduate years and early career in industrial engineering. The United States was catching up to the Japanese in manufacturing production as their Toyota vehicles outperformed our Fords. A company couldn’t deliver a competitive product without an optimized manufacturing process. Strategy followed suit as companies invested in new capabilities. The race to data-driven everything was on.

My career began at Raytheon’s Waltham plant, where I supported manufacturing lines for U.S. Navy radar and communications systems. Remember the aircraft carrier in the original production of Top Gun? Can you see the radars moving to track the action? My production line manufactured the wiring harnesses to power those systems. After Raytheon, I supported F-16 fighter aircraft production. That mile-long factory was a sight to behold.

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Karla Raines is available for podcasts, interviews, and written articles. Please contact her at:

Recruiting Daily: Delivering a Differentiated Advantage

Recruiting Daily: Delivering a Differentiated Advantage

Turning the Sweet Spot Inside Out
As a strategist, my job is to master the most effective tools. Strategy isn’t a race for efficiency; instead, it requires a focus on effectiveness and “doing things right.” After using various tools, I landed on The Strategic Sweet Spot in Harvard Business Review’s Can You Say What Your Strategy Is? by David Collis and Michael G. Rukstad.