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A Story of Love and Core Competencies February 12, 2011

Posted by Craig A. Stevens in Management.
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The best example of core competencies I have personally witnessed was that of Weed Eater. As a young pre-teen and teenager, I worked as the grounds keeper at the Holiday Inn where my parents were the General Managers. I spent my summers in the hot sun cutting grass and trimming trees and bushes. We had the best equipment of the day. All of which used harden metals and steel for cutting, clipping, slicing, and sawing.

I would start at one end of the hotel and divide the acreage into manageable sections. Every day, I would start by selecting a section. First, I would use brooms and a stick with a nail hammered into one end and sharpened to pickup large trash. Then, sometimes I would use a large gas powered Billy Goat Lawn Vacuum. Next, I would use the riding equipment, then the pushing mowers and gas powered edgers. After that, I would toughen my hands with the trimming shears and pruning tools. Lastly, I would use the brooms and again the large gas powered Billy Goat Lawn Vacuum. Sometimes, by the time I finished the last sections of the greens and looked up – the first sections were ready for another round. Growth was my summer job security.

It was after one of these hot days that I met my first love. She was beautiful. I was still sweaty and dirty from a long day working in the sun. She didn’t care, as I was young so was she. When my eyes found her, everything seemed to be in slow motion when the pretty young woman tossed her hair, as she trimmed grass around trees, shrubs, and fences. The lady slowly swung her around building walls and into tall weeds. She was my dream tool. A gas powered Weed Eater Lawn Trimmer. I fell in love.

Then my adoration turned to horror, as the commercial showed someone trimming tall grass around his or her bare feet. How could that happen? This mysterious enchanting thing – I knew how to cut grass the right way, by slinging sharp metal. I could not watch! But did anyway, through my fingers. That commercial became etched in my mind forever. How could string replace steel for cutting grass? Thus started my whirlwind relationship with Weed Eater.

But it wasn’t to last forever. I out grew her. I’m a man now! Shindaiwa is now my love. Oh, I occasionally fool around with Stihl for her chainsaws. But Shindaiwa has always been loyal and like all good women, easy on the eyes, extremely useful, and low maintenance.

So the question is, how could this have happened? How could my love for Weed Eater have changed? How could she have let herself slide from the pretties, shiniest, most useful and popular brand to just one of many?

The story of Weed Eater starts with a unique idea, a patent, and lots of interest. Nevertheless, the problem is, no matter where you start it is only a start. You have to develop your core competencies continuously or those who already possess them will soon out design, develop, and deliver anything you might create. Focus on your
core competencies!

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