As an individual do you know what your “competitive advantage is?
“Competitive advantage” is a business term that sounds so mysterious. It gives one the sense that one has that something that no one else has. It is a secret that I have had for many years and did not even know I had. Well I am now ready to divulge this secret and pass it on to you.
Investopedia explains “Competitive Advantage” this way:
“Competitive advantages give a company an edge over its rivals and an ability to generate greater value for the firm and its shareholders. The more sustainable the competitive advantage, the more difficult it is for competitors to neutralize the advantage”
Advice to individuals from Columbia Business School professor Rita Gunther McGrath in her new upcoming book The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business goes like this:
“Individuals need to take responsibility for their own career,” she says. “It’s permanent job hunt mode. You have to develop commercially marketable skills. Have you learned a new skill in the last two years, even though you think it may not be directly related to your job?…Far too many people land in one corporation and that’s all they know – and that makes you very vulnerable.”
I agree with her and add some thoughts of my own. These thoughts are based on my many years of having a competitive advantage.
Finding a job, moving the corporate ladder, landing that exciting international project, closing new sales or new business contracts was seldom a difficult task for me. I now realize all these things were possible because of my multilingual skills. Many of the professionals I meet daily who are struggling to find jobs, climb the corporate ladder or take their businesses to the next level probably are not bilingual or do not recognize their competitive advantages. We are living in a globalized world; this is a seriously competitive advantage.
My competitive advantage lies in the fact that I decided to become bilingual and multilingual and to sustain it throughout these years.
As individuals, professionals, executives, entrepreneurs and educators we need to find and get a “competitive advantage”.
You too can have the competitive advantage that you need to succeed. By investing 6 months to a year in becoming bilingual, you can be on your way to the top.
Learning any foreign language such as Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish or any other foreign language is the key to adding the competitive advantage to your person, your institution or your enterprise.
Take a hard look, ask yourself some tough questions and commit the time to become bilingual, and to have that special “competitive advantage”.
Prof. Carlos A. Roncal is the Founder and CEO of World Language Schools, an educational institution dedicated to turning professionals into bilingual professionals.