Insights for an edge in the workplace

Staying ahead of your competition and those you see as potential challengers is a competitive advantage. Start by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your own skill set and those of your company and associates and determine how they compare to other individuals and companies in your competitive set.

Doing so will help you position your organization as one wanting to grow. You’ll also be able to identify employees demonstrating they are effective leaders or that they can be mentored to develop into the next generation of your successful leadership team. Once you identify your unique selling proposition and other virtues, you’ll be able to articulate them to others and act upon them.

Here are some points to consider when preparing employees for their next roles in your company.

Keep current. By staying up to date with the latest software, social media, trends and other skills typical for their current position or a role aspired to, associates will continue to be assets. Encourage them to take advantage of training opportunities and educational reimbursement plans that can augment their ability as teammates and develop them eventually to be considered subject-matter experts.

Know the marketplace. Who really is your competition? There are times a company can excel through a differentiating niche versus competing head-to-head in a futile sense. For example, our firm assisted a mid-sized grocer that shuttered a few stores and wanted to rebound and grow.

Guiding them to utilize food trends, shopping behaviors, influencers and other tools, the grocer attracted new audiences, elevated the customer experience and strengthened brand positioning with a grow local focus. As a result, customer perceptions shifted, generating the grocer a 20 percent increase in revenue in six months.

Similarly, when associates wishing to advance are competing with other people as well as with robots and artificial intelligence processes, they should demonstrate how their interpersonal skills, technological savvy and ability to collaborate make them valuable assets.

Know what’s important. Employees can prioritize effectively by knowing which skills contribute the most to your company’s value. Companies hire for specific skills, so associates should identify and promote the applicable skills in their wheelhouse. Offering a plan to develop and add more value over time will portray them as team players and major contributors.

Play well with others. Some people know their stuff but fail as part of a team due to a lack of interpersonal skills. Identify associates focusing on positivity, supporting teammates, offering solutions, leading the way and enhancing social skills, persuasiveness and ability to communicate.
Communicate. Clear communication is key. Explaining an idea quickly, clearly and briefly enables others to move forward.

Do more. Plenty of employees do just enough to get by. Look for those taking initiative, anticipating needs of your organization and teammates, and standing out from the crowd in a good way.

Invest in yourself. Suggest employees polish skills in communication, managing others, networking and more. Encourage taking advantage of opportunities wherever they are offered, within the workplace and externally. Fresh perspectives can be gained from podcasts easily accessed on demand at no cost.

Considering these factors will help you identify and develop associates to be universally valued and position you as the leader others willingly follow. ●

Michele Cuthbert is CEO and Creator at Baker Creative

Michele Cuthbert

CEO and creator


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