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How to Build a Strong Company by Capitalizing on Your Core Competencies

Updated on November 3, 2011

Is your company as good as it can get? Are you producing or delivering exceptional products or services? Are sales increasing? Are your employees highly skilled? Are you seeing an increase in loyal customers? Do you have a clear vision of your company's future? Have you communicated that vision to your employees and do they understand their individual roles for accomplishing the vision? Can your business withstand tough economic times?

Here's a revelation- your company is only as good [or great] as the people or talent working for your business, including you. Wouldn't it be fantastic if you could answer yes to all the questions posed above? Realistically, however, your business probably could use varying degrees of improvement in some or several of the areas mentioned.

Inasmuch as every company is unique it is also similar to your competitors and other like-businesses, just as every individual is unique yet similar to the next individual. What makes us both unique and similar? It is the abilities or competencies possessed by the whole (the company) and the parts (the individuals).

Core Competencies

Let's take a more in-depth look at core competencies. A simple definition is:

"A core competency is something a company does especially well relative to its competitors."

Core competencies include any combination of skills, technologies, processes, knowledge, expertise, or abilities. The various core competencies combinations are what make a company unique and distinguishable from another company.

Let's look at innovation for example. Would innovation be a core competency for your company? The answer depends on where you want your company to be in the future.

For instance, your company's goal could be to acquire a smaller company producing high-end niche products in your industry in order to reach a higher-quality consumer. Or maybe your goal is to expand market reach. Or perhaps your company's goal is to remain a small, family-owned business. In each of these examples a degree of innovation would be required but not necessarily be a core competency. However, if for instance, your company is known for and is successful at identifying and reaching consumers in different markets with creative marketing techniques, then innovation would be a core competency.

How about innovation as a core competency for the individual worker? Once again it depends of the worker's job duties and responsibilities. If the worker is a marketing manager at the company known for identifying and reaching consumers in different previously mentioned, then innovation would be a core competency for the marketing job. If the worker works on an assembly line, then innovation would not be a core competency.

What are the core competencies for your company? What are the skills, technologies, processes, knowledge, expertise, and abilities that brand your business? Take time with your management staff to inventory your core competencies as an organization. Identifying your core competencies will help your company to stay focused on the long-term, your vision. Core competencies will help improve performance management and hiring practices.

Acquiring and Developing Core Competencies at the Organizational Level

After identifying what your company's core competencies, you may discover that due to turnover you may be lacking in an expertise that is a core competency. Or perhaps your once envied processes are now outdated. By having identified your core competencies, you are now in a position to hire or develop existing talent to reinforce the core competency that is lacking.

If you need to hire some new talent, knowing what the core competencies are for not only the organization but also for the position will enable your internal or external recruiters to focus on the skills, abilities, knowledge or expertise required to your company's success.

Acquiring and Developing Core Competencies at the Individual Level

You may discover that some of your employees may need to have their skills updated or learn new processes. In this type of a situation, training may be the remedy. However, training should not be a "one-time" event that will result in overnight skills or expertise acquisition. Training takes time.

Focus on identifying the strengths of your workers. Within their strengths may be links to your core competencies, which can be enhanced to be in alignment with your core competencies.

Acquiring, developing and maintaining your core competencies require on-going efforts by everyone within your organization. Core competencies must be linked to all your processes and performance standards. Do everything possible today to reinforce or acquire the core competencies that will pave the way to the great company you envision for future. Remember- your company is only as good as the people working for your business.

Core competencies are the heart and soul of a business. Capitalizing on your core competencies will not only make your company great, it will also make it strong!


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    • INFJay profile image

      Jay Manriquez 7 years ago from Santa Rosa, California

      Thanks for your comment Fred. I'll be posting a follow up to this article that will address the "how to..." Check back in a week or so.

    • profile image

      Fred 7 years ago

      Hi INF Jay, This is a nice article. Do you have a tool that can guide people step by step to build or assess the core competence?