By Michael McCullar, Ph.D.
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.