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Get Unstuck and Leverage the Things You Do Best

Get Unstuck and Leverage the Things You Do Best

October 29, 2008

The Core Competency Wizard

To help you find your core competency, answer the following questions:

1. When you walk into a bookstore, what part of the bookstore do you naturally gravitate to? Do you naturally gravitate to the cooking section? The self-help section? The travel section? The business section? Where do you find yourself naturally interested in?

2. What conversations do you naturally gravitate to? When you're at a party or talking with friends, what topics of conversation do you naturally engage in?

3. What advice do you give or what advice do other people come to you for? Are they looking for help with their marriage? Business? Finances? Are they coming to you about some sort of subject matter expertise?


Get unstuck and leverage the things you do best

Your turnaround begins right here, here now

If your business isn't running the way you want it's your fault. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it's the truth. You can blame the economy or the fact that you don't have enough money or resources, but it's not going to change a thing.

As soon as you accept the fact that the responsibility lies with you, the sooner you can turn things around.

The turnaround begins with you. We need to start by helping you get yourself unstuck. Conventional wisdom says the first thing to do is figure out what the market wants.Wrong! You always want to pay attention to what the market wants, but it's not first.

Like I said, it all begins with you (see related story, the Secret of the Watermelon). It doesn't begin with your customers or prospects or what you think the market wants. The business should revolve around what YOU do best.

And all your systems should support you. The key is to first determine your core competency. Your core competency is part of your DNA. These are the gifts you've been blessed with and do better than most other people.

4 criteria of a core competency

Before you start rattling off those things you THINK you're good at, read on. There are four requirements for something to be considered your core competency. It must be something you can do:

  • Nearly perfect every time.
  • Consistently.
  • Passionately, so much so that it launches you out of bed in the morning.
  • And you get paid well to do it because you're providing value.

#1: Nearly perfect
The first element of a core competency is often the most overlooked. There are plenty of things you may enjoy and may do well, but for a talent or skill to be considered a core competency it must be one that you do with near-perfect performance.

My friend Dave, for example, is a speaker who is one of the best in the business. He can consistently close anywhere from 15% to 35% of the room selling a $6,000 product. And he does it with near perfect performance.

Here's the problem Dave found himself in; he wasn't able to leverage his skills. In other words, if he wasn't speaking and selling, he wasn't making any money. Personally, I'm a leverage-aholic. I work with all of our clients to develop processes so they can continue to do the things they do best with the least amount of effort.

Pssst! Got another secret for you: Simplify, codify and multiply!

The key is to leverage your talents and skills is to follow my three step process: simplify, codify and multiply.

Let me explain. Simplify by boiling it down to its essence. Codify it by putting the process in a manual, on video or in some other format that others can use or refer to later. And multiply it. Get it out into the market. Publish it and distribute the materials.

My friend Dave did a great job of this. He simplified his speaking and sales process into a step-by-step system others could use. Then, he codified it. He put it down on paper, and then he multiplied it. Since then, he's hired several people who can give him leverage, and give the same presentations he used to give. Their closing ratios may not be as high as his, but the business grew because he had several people doing the job that only he was able to do previously.

This is important. Because when business owners get stuck, I often hear them say, 'Well, no one does it as well as I do.' That may be true, but that's okay. It's okay if other people express your ideas a little bit differently.

#2: Consistent performance
One client who I worked with whose name is also Dave, is a real estate investor. After working with him, we determined that the one thing he does better than anybody else is analyzing a deal. He just loves the art of the deal.

He can know, just by looking at the numbers, the specs, comparable properties in the market and other data. He knows right away what kind of offers to make on the property. No one can analyze a large number of deals faster and better than he can.

Other people don't have that same core competency. Using the Secret of the Watermelon we determined his core competency and put him in the center of the circle so all he does now is analyze deals.

Now, he's not so great at the selling process and he's not so great at the negotiating process. Those things are done by other people. But that's okay, because he's got a skill that's tremendously valuable. He sets up the parameters for the deal and he says, 'Look, if they accept the deal, here it is. Go work it out with them. If they don't accept it, then this is the deal-breaker and the deal-maker.' It's one thing to be able to do something well. It's another thing to be able to do it on a consistent basis.

A woman I work with, Jill, owns an art gallery. What's amazing is that she has nearly a 100% closing ratio. She takes art to people's homes and she makes the sale in customers' living rooms. If she can take the art into a person's home, she closes the sale nearly every time.

She knows that. So what did she do? She built her entire sales system to create an irresistible offer and to make it easy for her prospects to have her come out to their home with the art. She tells them, 'I understand you think there's going to be pressure to buy, but there's no pressure. It's fun. I love doing this.'

As a result, she not only sells them one piece, but she ends up selling them several other pieces and she comes away with several referrals.

So far, we've talked about two of the four criteria you need to operate in your core competency: (1) focus on what you can do with near perfect performance, and (2) something you can do on a consistent basis.

The third criteria is that it must something you're passionate about.

#3: Passion first
Your passion is what will get you through the rough times that you may be going through now or you'll eventually have to go through.

There's risk involved. And many people don't take the risk to get involved with something they're deeply passionate about. Most people think, 'You know, I've got to make a living.'

That's true, you do have to make a living. But we're blessed, at this particular stage in history, at this particular place geographically in the world because if you're running your own business or you're even working for someone, you have the ability to do what you love and get paid very well for it.

For example, speaking is something that I love doing. I'm also passionate about helping business owners turn around their business and actualize their greatest potential. That's why I created Business GPS.

Howard Schultz is just as passionate about coffee. He loves it! It's what led him to start Starbucks. When he goes to Italy, he has the sort of palette that can discern the difference between a good coffee and a bad coffee.

I, on the other hand, am not much of a coffee drinker and couldn't tell you the difference between a good cup of coffee and great cup of coffee. I'm lousy at it. It's not my core competency. That's why I was amazed to come across a barista competition while speaking at the International Coffee Fest recently in Washington D.C.

Talk about people who are really passionate about coffee! Every year, they hold a barista competition to see who serves the best cup of coffee. Some people would probably say, 'That's the most ridiculous thing! A competition to brew a cup of coffee? Just pour in some hot water and some coffee grounds, and you're done.'

That's not what this was about at all. They had seven judges and three baristas competing. The national barista champion was there too and it was like a rock star had showed up! Everyone was crowded around her in awe!

During the competition, the judges closely watch every move. They're judging how well the baristas tamp the coffee into the machine and how well they brew the coffee so it's not too oily or foamy and it doesn't taste burnt. After they finished, crowds of people gathered around the competitors, fawning over them and saying, 'You're awesome! ' Oh my gosh! Did you see that?!'

And the judges hovered over the winning cup saying, 'Look at the foam here, and look at the design. Wow!' It was amazing to see that kind of passion. What could you do with passion like that in your business? Imagine the possibilities. (The truth is, I thought they were nuts!)

'How can I get paid for my passion?'

This brings us to our fourth and final section on discovering your core competency. Is the market going to pay you well? It's one thing to pursue a passion, it's quite another to get paid ' and get paid well ' for your passion.

#4: Your highest paid activity
Here's the question you have to answer: Does the market find value in your core competency? The more unique and the more valuable it is to others, the more you'll get paid.

One of our clients, for example, Aaron is a landscaper who believes the best way to take care of your lawn and your plants is to use organic fertilizers and treatments. He's always preached this to his clients, long before it became trendy.

He understands how to help a homeowner use organic solutions.

So, when all of the other landscapers are competing over pricing, he doesn't have to because he's created a niche with very little competition. And because other landscapers are now trying to give customers more organic options, he's teaching his colleagues how to use natural solutions and offer them to their customers. He's positioned himself as the guru of organic landscapers.

This is something he does with near perfect performance and consistently. It gets him up out of bed every morning and other landscapers are paying him well for his knowledge.

Another guy in Texas is one of the best at barbequing beef on the grill. He's even created his own seasoning that's world-famous. He now owns one of the largest barbeque restaurants in the state.