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Core Competencies & Values Trump

As a Gallup Strength-based organization, each and everyone of our talent knows their strengths in order from 1-34. The idea is to focus on the top 5 and consider 6-10 for added momentum. For instance, my top 5 include Competition, Focus, Strategic, Ideation and Maximizer (visit for more info.

The theory goes that you can develop your top strengths and take your talent to another level. If you try to develop your lesser strengths, you will fail miserably. The theory works.

Our core competencies as an individual are based on our core strengths. Unfortunately, many of us never know what our top strengths and talents are and we go our whole life without knowing. For instance, how did Tiger Woods know he could play golf when he was a child? How did Disney's hottest star, Hannah Montana, know she would be a singer, dancer and actress as a child? They were lucky.

I have no musical talent whatsoever. However, one of my son's can play the piano and trumpet with ease. How did he find out he could play those instruments and not drums, guitar or something else? Interesting question.

Our core competencies running a business are no different. We must focus on our strengths and toss out our weaknesses.

With the new unemployment rate out at 8.1% for the U.S. and 11.6% for Michigan and both rates heading higher, one of the reasons for the economic disaster is that so many individuals and businesses ventured outside their core competencies.

For instance, GE, one of the largest and best-run companies of all time ventured into real estate and lost big. MGM was the most successful casino operator and decided to make money in real estate by opening City Center. Bad idea. Even GM through its GMAC financing unit got into the mortgage business. Bad idea.

Bad ideas can lead to disaster. More than ever, we must focus on what we do best and stick with it. Sure it might not be glamorous and the adrenalin might flow a little slower, but we need to get back to the basics.

Can you imagine Sushi chefs working at McDonald's? Of course not. McDonald's does fast food best and gets its ass kicked when it ventures out (remember Boston Market?).

As we move deeper into this mess, access your strengths and dig in. After all, it's one thing the government can't take away from you.

Happy Friday!


Adam Harris was born in coal country, right in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. His father, Gregory, worked the mines every day and came home to his best friend, Jim Beam. Gregory had many frie


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