What is your most valuable asset?

Is it your bank account? Your insurance policy? Your real estate? Your stock options?

By Christian Bachmann
Our time is characterized by VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity). Disruptive innovations can quickly displace established technologies and companies. You are a champion if you can anticipate all this and keep the "Unicorns" of technology in your portfolio. For the rest of us, returns are low and risks are high.

I believe your most valuable asset is your performance in your personal special field of know-how. If you look after this field and develop it well, you will continue to earn good returns from it for many years to come. However, building and managing your specific performance area is much more difficult today than it was at the beginning of this decade, precisely because of our world without predictability and certainties. Skills and networks that are valuable today can already be meaningless tomorrow.

From generalist to “nerd” or niche player

In all our disciplines, complexity is constantly increasing. The claim to know everything while being in a generalist function is illusory. If we want to be successful in our profession, we have to continuously deepen our degree of specialization. We must thus become "one-track idiots” writes Rolf Dobelli (The Art of Living Well, 2017). You have to know your personal niche and constantly develop yourself further in it. Warren Buffet explains this strategy as “circle of competence”. An approach which was essential for his professional success, as he describes in this video.

To be called a “one-track specialist” or a “nerd” is just not very attractive. Perhaps it is time to make a new assessment: How does "successful niche player" sound?

Call it niche or competence circle, with this method we immediately hit a sensitive point.

Boundaries define what our circle of competence truly is

Each niche challenges us to stand by our limits, to distinguish ourselves from what we no longer consider to be our core competencies.

This is a permanent process that demands a good capacity for self-reflection from us. Perhaps we also have to say goodbye to specific ideals (who or how we would like to be). Comparisons between self-image and the image others have of us or also an examination of our own character strengths can all be helpful here.

Consistent management of one's own niche

Identifying and managing your niche is a challenging process. In doing so, you will nurture and develop your most valuable asset, your performance tomorrow and ongoing. 
The big challenge: You cannot delegate the responsibility for this away to anyone, neither to your HR nor to your superior.

Using a metaphor, we could say, your performance reflects a garden. The good gardener knows that she must sow, water and weed again and again before she can harvest the fruits.

We at BWI would like to be your partner for your further development. Be it professional, social or leadership competencies. We see ourselves as your learning companions and impulse givers for individuals and teams.

What is your next step? Seminar, individual coaching or consulting? Contact us, we will be happy to advise you.

Seminar on the Blog: