Wake up call and call to arms: What is your competitive advantage ?
November 4, 2012
November 4, 2012
There is a term in economics called “hyper competition” which refers to a competitive environment, characterized by high levels of uncertainty and dynamism. This economic term is generally used in business as it relates to enterprises, corporations and financial entities but I think it applies also to the workforce at large.
Our current economic climate has created a new reality when it comes to the employment landscape both as an employer and as an employee. We are slowly emerging from one of the greatest economic crises of recent memory …and I can safely say it has touched everyone. Whether directly having experienced a downsizing, layoffs, business closures, being outsourced or indirectly perhaps witnessing a life partner, family member, suppliers or customers succumbing to the unfortunate and sometimes unavoidable effects of a tough economy.
It has been a wake-up call and a call to arms. During times of hyper competition conventional business advice is to clearly identify, develop or strengthen your competitive advantage. In a lot of instances this has meant re-discovering or re-inventing your personal competitive advantage(s), which is generally defined as establishing your core competencies: What is it you are good at? What makes you generate a value proposition to your stakeholders? What establishes your uniqueness? And what is the extendibility of those competencies? Basically what is the depth and width of your range of contribution current and future.
As an organization and the competition keep fighting to survive and competitive advantages are maximized, core competencies develop even further – the more they are used the more refined they get and the more valuable they become. Always keeping in mind that as competition grows fierce, what was once a distinctive competency through natural progression and evolution, quickly becomes a minimum requirement to compete in an industry and each cycle begins anew with the higher standard becoming the starting benchmark.
We, the workforce, are our very own profit centers, our very own enterprise within the corporate context. Each one of us having assets, liabilities, strengths and weaknesses (some known, some unknown). A second language, a professional certification a trade license, just to name a few.
It is imperative now more than ever that individual skills are strengthened – keeping up to date to the latest trends, the latest technology within your organization as well as the industry. Technological advances that sometimes seem remote can end up directly affecting us and in many instances catching us by surprise. Invest in yourself, upgrade your skills, volunteer for projects outside your immediate job responsibilities, which is a great opportunity to demonstrate range and skills outside the norm that normally may not have the opportunity to be demonstrated or noticed. Be proactive, make suggestions always be on the lookout for potential cost savings. Anticipate needs and be proactive in providing them within your existing job responsibilities. Always delivering more than asked is a sure way to increase your value proposition.
We, like any enterprise, are responsible for the quality of our product, the value proposition we bring to the table, and for remaining fresh and current in the market place. We are ultimately also responsible for our own marketing and promotion and, very importantly, to deliver what we sell making sure our uniqueness and value proposition has a chance to be known and put to the challenge.
In our new economy we, to a very large extent, are solely responsible for our own success and are ultimately the masters of our own destiny.
Carolina M. Billings is an executive with 15+ year’s leadership experience in the fields of Business Development, Human Resources and Finance. As CFO-CHRO of a multi-million business conglomerate, she performs a truly interdisciplinary role within a portfolio of diverse industries ranging from Supply Chain, Logistics & Distribution, Wealth Management, Furniture Import, Sales & Distribution as well as Interior Design. She champions leadership initiatives as well as empowering and coaching/mentoring others to lead. Developing a hybrid of Finance and Human Resources has enable her to become leading business partner. Her great ability to influence and engage others in the pursuit of goals and objectives makes her a true innovator and change agent. Carolina is currently pursuing her Masters in Interdisciplinary studies with Royal Roads University, She holds Graduate Certificates from Cornell University and Queen’s University in the fields of Change Management and Leadership. She is a Co-Active Professional coach currently doing her practicum towards Certification with ICF. She holds a CHRL designation and a High Honor’s HRM Graduate Certificate.
Carolina is the founder of Big Fish Coaching a private practice specializing in personal leadership, career coaching, conflict resolutions and life change management.
www.bigfishcoaching.com All posts by Carolina Billings