What is the Competitive Edge?

How does a company, firm, or individual determine if they have, want, or are striving toward the competitive edge? Questioning “what is professional success?” is a good first step. For many, the easy answer is money and status. But, when these are attained (or lost) it is surprising how ethereal they were. On the other hand, if success has more to do with an ability to express oneself and be heard, engage with a passion and interact with equally motivated people, then the target moves. Whatever the definition becomes, it is clear that to acquire the edge and remain competitive takes risk.

The first and probably the most daunting risk is based on the fear of not being liked. Being competitive often means leading change, questioning the status quo, and being right. Not things that win popularity contests. Courage and a willingness to stand by your convictions don’t come easy to most people (though passion can fuel fortitude).

In order to attain high focus, many things may have to be eliminated or ignored. Hopefully not family or health, but probably those sideline interests, the menial tasks you do faster and better than anyone and the projects that are interesting but are going nowhere, or in a direction that is questionable or off track. Competitors are focused and selective.

A risk for many managers is what I call execution by executing, becoming so focused on the here and now, getting to the end of every task, that the future is counted in minutes and the competition is a clock. Just recently a client caught me on this one. “Jane, I think we need to work on the strategy and forget the tactics for the moment.” He was absolutely right.

The experts tell us that continued learning, contact with current information, collaborations with those in the know, and learning from our successes and missteps through accurate and updated data collection, help every executive get the edge they need. Hard to argue—more challenging to accomplish.

So what does it mean and how do you know when you are accelerating progress or setting-up hurdles? For many people coaching conversations help dissect the process, identify options, and hold people accountable. Have you considered a coach?

Homework: What gives you the edge? If it came down to a choice between you and another job candidate, promotion selection, or project leader, what would place you on top? Make a compelling list, take an objective look, how do you fare? Now, say it out loud. Convincing? Where is fine-tuning appropriate or is surgery called for?

Jane Cranston is an executive coach, career coach and “The Job Search Expert” based in New York City. She shares with success driven executives and professionals techniques, skills and goal setting strategies that advance their careers, increase people management skills and assists them in career change or job search. Receive Jane’s free "Competitive Edge Report" and the free audio download “Creating a Career Strategy” by visiting www.ExecutiveCoachNY.com.

About the Author

Jane Cranston - Executive Coach NY (New York)Executive and career coach, “The Job Search Expert,” Jane Cranston understands the challenges and opportunities in the workplace. She integrates years of experience as an accomplished senior executive with global brand name companies, with the lessons learned from opening three successful businesses, and then applies her education and coach training. This sophisticated mix affords her clients her unique perspective, business sensibility, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Jane is the founder and Managing Director of ExecutiveCoachNY, an executive and career coaching business based in New York City with clients nationwide. She coaches success-driven executives and managers to develop a career strategy that accelerates advancement, increases compensation, enhances people-management skills as well as gets the competitive edge in all business activities.

Coaching with Jane is dynamic, structured, forward-focused as well as fun and inspirational. Working with clients in fields such as finance, technology, media and entertainment, real estate, and the law, she assists them in recognizing and achieving their full potential at work and in their personal lives.

Clients claim coaching with Jane has “changed my career focus,” “helped me better understand how to motivate my staff,” “given me ideas that have increased my income by $100,000s,” and “made me realize what is my part and what isn’t,” and claim coaching is “the best thing you could do for yourself.”

Jane’s soon to be published “Great Job Tough Times” is a step-by-step job search system designed to assist managers and executives looking for employment, or contemplating leaving their current positions, with their resume writing, interviewing skills, networking techniques, and negotiating need to get the right job fast.

Jane Cranston is frequently seen on CNN’s “Your Money” and quoted in nationally syndicated newspapers, magazines, as well as Internet article sites and virtual programs. She authors the free, twice monthly, “Competitive Edge Report.” Learn more on her website www.ExecutieCoachNY.com.


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