Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Identifying distinctive competence.

Do you know your firm’s Distinctive Competence? What's the unique thing that it does really well? What quality or attribute sets it apart from its competitors? Knowing this critical characteristic is particularly helpful as a firm seeks to find ways to grow further. It helps in identifying the best partners in completing or expanding its distinctiveness.

Many factors create distinctive competence. It may be a function of serving a unique market niche, like Hot Dog On A Stick. It may be delivering a highly specialized product, like Deco Breeze Fans. Or it may be its quality of customer intimacy and superior service, like †he Ritz-Carlton Hotel chain. Or, its low cost, like Wal-Mart. For example, Kodak’s distinctive competence is in imaging. Kodak’s understanding of this has allowed it to expand into seemingly unrelated businesses like pharmaceuticals which use similar processing methods.

Ultimately, whatever it is leads to competitive advantage. When you think you understand and can communicate your distinctive competence, test it with your customers. Is this capability what they think is special about you? Does it create value in the mind of the customers? Is it something they care deeply about?

A business will be much more successful when its employees and customers have a simple, clear impression of why its distinctive competence is important. Defining distinctive competence helps the firm and its customers stay focused.

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