In business, core competencies are a combination of learning and resources that distinguishes a company in the marketplace and are critical to the company’s success. This concept was introduced by C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel and has three criteria:
- Provide potential access to a wide variety of markets
- Make a contribution to the customer benefits of the end product
- Are difficult for competitors to replicate
In the same way that companies prioritize their core competencies, individuals can leverage the concept to achieve greater success. You can hone your core competencies to obtain opportunities, provide value and position yourself as the go-to person. When you focus on your strengths, you have greater impact and success.
I caught up with a friend from high school not too long ago and she gave me a life update. Here is a portion of the conversation where she shared her new area of study:
Me: That’s so awesome! And that sounds like you! The learning doesn’t have to stop outside of school with resources these days such as blogs, technology, talking to people in the field so keep going!
Her response: I love that everyone that has known for a long time says the same thing when I tell them my path and respond with a “that is so you!” I feel like the people that knew me back when we were growing up will always know me.
Me: Times change but fundamental things don’t! Always stay close to your core. We all do better when we do.
Years ago, I wouldn’t have understood what this means in practice. There’s something amazing and powerful about operating in your zone, where you’re fully equipped with the right experience, talent, knowledge, skills and passion to excel at a function. The right mix and know-how enables you to not only meet but exceed expectations and makes it difficult for others to compete. This is how you’re truly able to communicate your value and differentiate yourself.
There’s something amazing and powerful about operating in your zone, where you’re fully equipped with the right experience, talent, knowledge, skills and passion to excel at a function.
When you operate in a zone where you’re using your core strengths frequently, you have a head start, build momentum and benefit from practice over time. On the other hand, if you’re trying hard to improve a weakness, you need additional support to have an impact and more effort to have a powerful outcome. Meanwhile, competitors who excel in this area have a more seamless process.
Always stay close to your core. We all do better when we do.