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Gaining that Competitive Edge

Today’s competitive work environment demands that employees position themselves with marketable, highly desirable skills and capabilities.  When you learn how to take an active role in your own career development you position yourself to take advantage of opportunities as they arise and you are much more likely to achieve long-term success and progression within the organization.  

Gaining that competitive edge goes beyond mastering the skills associated with your current position and requires a shift in both attitude and perspective. The following are a few shifts in the right direction: 
IMAGINING THE POSSIBILITIES – Enthusiasm provides energy to carry you forward and the emotional strength to take necessary risks.  A mindful positive attitude will give you the strength to persevere when the going gets rough.  People with an optimistic attitude are often able to tackle problems of any size with confidence.

MANAGING LIMITATIONS – Facing limitations is a fact of life.  Successfully managing obstacles and applying creative solutions to get around them generally yields greater levels of success within an organization.  Learning how to tackle challenges head on through new and innovative solutions rather than questioning them is a far better use of time and resources.  

MAINTAINING DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES – Teamwork is critical to a successful organization.  Finding inventive and unique solutions generally requires an acceptance and appreciation for differing perspectives and ideas.  Getting input from, a variety of sources and being open to feedback and alternatives to problems often lends itself to ingenious solutions.

BRANDING YOUR MARKETABLE SKILLS – You must constantly work to improve yourself and your own marketability by acquiring new skills that can be transferred to a new work environment. It is also important to invest in skill development that will create your own special niche. This will set you apart from others and give you that competitive edge. 

SETTING STRETCH GOALS – Setting goals that are difficult to reach can lead to greater organizational and personal gains as well as increased levels of job satisfaction.  Do not allow yourself to settle for the norm.  Push yourself beyond that which is normally expected.


Take some time to explore these ideas with your mentor and why each one is important to your success.  You can start an on-going dialogue with the following questions:

  • What strategies do you use to see the glass half full?
    • How do you overcome a negative attitude?
  • What are some ways that you manage and overcome challenges?
    • Technically and professionally?
  • How do you make the best use of your resources?
  • In your professional career, what were the most creative solutions you experienced?
    • How did they come about?
  • What is the best way to create your brand?
    • What skills are best to develop in my field?
    • What are the best resources to develop those skills?
  • What would be some meaningful stretch goals for me to plan?
    • How would they help in my development?