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Assessing Your Value-Creating Capabilities

As any typical MBA strategy course would corroborate, it is crucial for strategic leaders to recognize the distinctive competencies their company possesses. That is, organizational leaders are challenged to dependably dissect their firm’s strengths and capabilities to uncover exactly what they do that sets the firm apart from competitors. But the truth is, confronting reality and uncovering these true value-creating capabilities may not always be so apparent or easily agreed upon in the corner office. Executives get absorbed in personal initiatives or political agendas; entrepreneurs get caught up in new technologies or become captivated by a new opportunity. These leaders become blind to the facts or fail to recognize bias from their own background, experience, and/or interests. Failure to clearly and coherently understand (and exploit) this economic driver for your firm has been the downfall of many an organization – large and small.

To seek real insight, tap into your extended network to get feedback on where you are creating value. Get out and talk to people. Beyond the management team, talk to employees, supervisors, middle managers, mentors, trusted advisors, customers, suppliers, and other strategic partners. Listen to what they say about the product(s) or service(s) you offer. Ask probing questions to see what they like and dislike. Soliciting input from both internal and external sources will offer the potential for 360° feedback that offers greater insight and perspective on where you truly are (or are perceived to be) creating value for constituents. It is always striking, when in discussion with a middle manager or employee, that they recognize value-creation capabilities that are not being marketed or exploited by their management team. Gather this feedback and unlock the true underlying characteristics and competencies of your business. The first step is to diagnose and understand where value is created in your business model; then you can get to work leveraging that to greater success through deliberate and focused effort.

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About Matthew Mazzei

Matthew J. Mazzei, Ph. D., is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Management in the Brock School of Business. Matt has taught a variety of management and entrepreneurship courses as a course instructor at Auburn University, and currently teaches the undergraduate and graduate Strategy courses at Samford. His research primarily focuses on corporate entrepreneurship, with secondary…