The only consistent thing I have seen in business over the past 33 years is change. The industries we serve, the technology we use, and the needs of the client have all been constantly evolving. Longevity in business is based on the willingness and ability to change with, if not ahead of, what is happening in your marketplace.
In the past, the expansion of services was the focus of many businesses. If their client needed it, they needed to offer it. If they didn’t offer that service, they would figure out a way to make it happen. Times change. The pendulum has swung in the other direction. Customers have so many options available to them today. They need a compelling reason to use your service. Being an expert in a particular area and offering focused expertise to help solve a customer’s problem is the way to narrow your customer’s options. Focused expertise is not something you can buy or develop overnight. It comes with years of experience and an intentional plan to obtain and grow the specific knowledge needed. It must become part of your company’s culture and owned by everyone. If too much of the expertise is held by one individual, what happens when that person leaves or is too busy? The company is very limited.
Being able to grow your company’s expertise starts with the hiring process. You must hire teachers and sponges. People who are willing to share their information and people who are willing to absorb it. This is not easy in many fields like the arts and engineering. Hiring on skill set alone will not help move your company to the next level if that skilled person is unwilling to share or unwilling to listen and learn. It is far more important to hire on a cultural fit. If you have a good team that is built on learning and sharing, the talent will grow.
Does your workplace configuration promote sharing and learning, or does it promote isolationism? Focused expertise comes from having built a library of experiences from which to draw on. If a group is willing to pool their individual experiences, then the resources available have just grown. If there is no mechanism for the group to pool those resources, then the resources remain with the individual and any cross pollination of ideas that can be built on is lost. The configuration of the workplace either promotes that interaction or discourages it. It’s a subtle but very powerful ingredient in developing a company with focused expertise.
The exciting thing about focusing your companies value offering is that it grows every day. Each job builds on that collective library of expertise and makes your company better. Each new hire brings in new skills and experiences to learn and grow from. You find yourself in a constant state of improvement where everyone is learning and growing no matter how long they have been working. You’ll find that the company itself is improving and growing stronger each day no matter how long it has been in business.
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