What’s your company’s competitive advantage?
How would you define what makes your organisation uniquely placed to do a better job in whichever sector you operate?
It’s a big question, and companies spend years and small fortunes to develop and define the ‘X factor’ which makes them stand apart from the crowd. It could be the service offering, or the particular feature of a product. In many cases it’s something less definable, such as in the case of companies like Coke and Pepsi. Cola aficionados say it is easy to taste the difference that distinguishes their Coke from the competition but for others there may not seem to be major material differences between the two companies and their core products. Customers have identified with the brand as they perceive it, which is heavily influenced by brand values and presence.
But what really generates a competitive advantage. There’s something that comes before the creation of a brand identity, and it truly is what gives any organisation the ability to rise above the rest and become an industry leader.
Cue the quote by Peter Drucker, featured in the famous book ‘The Fifth Discipline’, by Peter Senge:
‘The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage’
The prime resource of any company, and the basis of its success, is it’s people. And it therefore stands to reason that in order to ensure the ongoing success of a company, we must be committed to the ongoing training and development of the people who make that company what it is.
It’s something of a self-evident truth, and yet old notions of why not to invest in training and development persist even today. It’s too expensive, it takes too long, they’ll get trained up and leave, they’re being paid to do the job…all the old chestnuts!
None of these arguments have been shown to be the case, and yet they’re still prevalent. Ask yourself, what happens if you don’t train them to save money and they STAY?
And so it begs the question: how, without training, are our people expected to be the engaged, committed and creative individuals our businesses need, in order to produce that competitive advantage?
Woody Allen once said – “80% o success in life is showing up!”. Yet as employers we know it’s not just about doing the job we need so much more from our workforce than the basics. We need everyone to go above and beyond their perceived limits and produce something exceptional for the company.
We all know from our own work experience how it feels when someone takes an interest in us. It feels good to know we’re valued and being invested in, and that we’re actually getting better at what we do. It makes us feel more involved in the bigger picture, that we’re really part of something and contributing to it. It’s a human thing. We want to know we matter.
These are the underlying principles which drive our desire to commit, or to disengage. And the cost of disengaged staff is there for all to see. Poor customer service, opportunities not followed up, deadlines missed, reports filed too late, etc.
These are all symptoms. They’re indicators that something is amiss in how our people view their roles in the organisation. And they’re valuable opportunities to look again at the culture of learning, development and inclusiveness we have, and how it can be improved upon, to leverage the immense reservoir of talent residing in our people.
To learn more about how dancing lion can help you assess, identify and improve the learning and development culture in your organisation, contact us today. Our depth of experience in performance improvement has enabled many companies to transform their effectiveness and productivity, and it can work for your organisation.