Developing personal competencies

R. Shekar | Updated on January 13, 2011


This high-tech start-up , led by a strong team of enthusiastic technical experts, acquired international reputation for solving intractable problems for the industry. Ten years later, its professed strength was proving to be its greatest undoing. The experts, in their enthusiasm for growth, undertook every conceivable technical challenge. Now they were obliged to service too many customers, across a wide spectrum of technology platforms, with versions spanning over 15 years.

The company faced three kinds of risks: Too much breadth, too little depth and shrinking shelf life for the technical competencies offered ; eroding market premiums for the competencies abandoned by the technology inventors but still demanded by their customers, and loss of workforce productivity deployed onto learning future competencies demanded by the strategic growth needs of the business The company created a ‘HEAT MAP,' categorising the stack of technologies into three zones A, B and C. — Pre-emptive strike: e.g. Support ‘Online marketing and product promotion' applications

Stay the course: Scale up and upgrade the platforms for ‘In bound customer problem resolution'

Vulnerable: Obligation to service ‘obsolete technologies at unremunerative rates and unrealistic standards of service levels'

By assigning weights of 9, 3 and 1 respectively for A, B and C categories of technology offerings, the company grouped their offering into 18 cells. How does such a grouping help the business grow?

The directors would have to rank order the 18 groups of technology offerings. At least they now have an objective basis for deciding which few to keep and which ones to let go.

Their decision will have a far reaching impact on the following policies — outsourcing (what businesses to hive off or walk out of); training (employee-led vs company-sponsored); hiring (full time and part time); retention (cost of retention and buffer maintenance); promotion (who should be promoted and retained); career advancement (reward quick learning ability or in-house expertise development); succession planning (link to propensity for sustained yield generation); wage bill budgeting (break even days of monthly working required to meet salary commitment); and productivity index (per capita profitability per employee).

They can assess the impact of the changes on the future of their business.

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Published on January 11, 2011
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