Written by Michael McCullar, Ph.D.
Feb. 1, 2022
The ability to differentiate in a competitive marketplace lies in developing key capabilities that support differentiation. This concept is more complicated than it may initially appear. Difficult decisions must be made about whether to develop capabilities internally or to develop them through collaboration or other external relationships. Making these decisions, however, allows an improved focus on critical capabilities needed to optimize performance and accelerate the creation of value by improving differentiation. As companies then begin to implement these differentiated internal capabilities and compete based upon them, we ultimately discover that the success of the organization is firmly rooted in the employees leading these capabilities. The key to competitive differentiation can therefore be traced to the capabilities of individuals within these companies and the proper organization and management of these individuals to best promote their contributions. People are the most important element to a successful organization.
Company culture itself can therefore serve as a major source of competitive advantage. People have capabilities that are impossible to imitate. Recognizing and promoting those capabilities directly drives a company’s growth. Over time, I have come to understand that individual engagement is key to driving a company’s culture, mission, and vision. The ability to keep people engaged is highly correlated with success. From this standpoint, the concepts of culture, mission, and vision are better thought of as tools that, when used effectively, enable high levels of engagement. It is important, therefore, to incorporate company culture into a business’s development strategy and values.