What makes the most difference to your success? What particular aspects of your business give you the most competitive advantage and give you your unique identify? Don’t be surprised if you can’t answer right away. These questions are surprisingly difficult for companies and organisations to answer. The reason why is simple – it’s because the answer is usually not what most people think of as “capabilities”. Research over many years as well as many successful client engagements confirm that most organisations are not good at defining what really gives them “the edge”.
Most organisations are good at understanding “best-practice”, but by definition, best-practice only gets you to the standard everyone else has already reached. This is fine in non-core areas, but in their core business, our clients ask us “how do we get better than best-practice?” Fortunately, OSC has developed a structured approach that efficiently identifies Differentiating Strategic Capabilities (DiSCs) – the aspects of a business or organisation that give unique competitive advantage and success. DiSCs are usually, though not always, related to people – the way your people behave with customers, their attitude to their colleagues, the way they manage their staff. DiSCs could also be a particular business model or a way of operating a process. However, all DiSCs are:
- Hard to copy
- Controlled by the organisation
- A result of the organisation’s history, culture or other unique attribute
Our CEO clients understand that every part of the organisation needs to be coherent with the DiSCs to ensure sustainable competitive advantage. For example, they know that the wrong operational measures can actively work against DiSCs and destroy competitive advantage. Our HR Director clients understand that understanding DiSCs allows every person in HR to operate more strategically, to add more value to the business and to engage more closely with operational staff. They also see that DiSCs are not typically reflected in standard competency frameworks, though it is entirely possible to recruit for DiSCs and measure against them in performance appraisals.
How we identify DiSCs
OSC has a clear and efficient process to help clients identify DiSCs.
- Executive Team Workshop to agree the strategic intent, define organisational goals and imperatives and identify candidate DiSCs.
- Investigation stage – where we observe an interview a variety of managers and operational staff to identify the DiSCs that make the most difference to operational performance, financial results, engagement, retention and other key success measures.
- Report and review – where we collate our findings and present back to the Executive team. At this stage we will agree the final DiSCs – these are usually very clear at this stage and we usually gain complete agreement around the table. Our clients also usually respond “we never would have thought of that”.
- Impact planning – where we work with the HR Director and Executive Team as appropriate to identify how DiSCs can be developed to deliver greater competitive advantage.
- Maximising value from DiSCs.
After we have identified DiSCs, we regularly work with HR and other departments to plan changes to develop DiSCs. These changes range from amending recruitment and talent management processes to changing performance measures to rolling out new management practices. At all stages, OSC supports clients flexibly with strategic advice, hands-on implementation support or full change project management.
HR departments and Executive Teams in many of our clients report that the exercise has helped embed HR more strategically within the business and add more value.
Click here to download some of our White Papers on DiSCs
To discuss how DiSCs can help you gain more competitive advantage, contact us now.