Such a question can look like an easy one...
My point is, if you ask it to different people within the company, I bet that you'll get many different answers. And the bigger the company, the most diverse answers you'll get.
Some will speak about the miraculous technical experts who design and build the products which are sold, others will speak about fantastic project managers which make the company exist thanks to huge profit margin they ensure, others will put foremost the unbridled creativity of marketing guys without which nothing could ever be possible...
Well... All of that can (or cannot) true, but think about what all these fabulous contributors have in common... No ? Not yet ?
They've all been recruited and their talent well managed !
These core skills shall be rooted hard in any company's DNA which wants to stand out from the competition. In its book Talent is overrated, Geoff Colvin takes the example of well known companies who testify this necessity, especially for scarce and spearhead skills:
Microsoft and Google understand perfectly well that their success is built on human capital. Both companies are famous for the scorching intelligence of the people they hire and for the brutally rigorous tests they impose on job applicants. Bill Gates has said that if you took the twenty smartest people out of Microsoft it would be an insignificant company, and if you ask around the company what its core competency is, they don’t say anything about software. They say it’s hiring. They know what the scarce resource is.Geoff Colvin
And the thing is that those people will use their brain at the maximum of their capabilities if they get challenged, do what they're able to do and even beyond.
They have to be pushed out of their comfort zones to keep on learning and stick to the edge of their respective skills, but this journey has to be backed up with training and mentoring for them to feel safe and keep their self-confidence alive. Summing things up, their talents are precious and have to be managed.
And this kind of achievements will push the company higher and ensure its future.
As a popular drawing depicts on LinkedIn:
- CFO to CEO : What if we train our people and then they leave the company ?
- CEO to CFO : What if we don't and they stay ?
Now, what do you think is the core competency of your company ?