A New Way Forward: Finding Your Competitive Edge

Diane Baranello
Founder of Coaching for Distinction, NYWICI Career Coach and former Board Member

BeginThese are extraordinary times. No doubt about that. This pandemic has stirred feelings of anxiety, apprehension, fear of the future.

At the same time, out of this maelstrom surfaced good works of sharing and sacrifice, courage, and resilience. Intrepid leaders are the visionaries, changemakers, and innovators preparing today for a new way forward. The question is, who will be among them?

Old Ways Won’t Open New Doors

Don’t shy away from this defining moment. Engage in career brainstorming, retooling your digital skills, fine-tuning your ability to facilitate and communicate, networking and developing relationships virtually. Nothing will be precisely the same as it was, so be brave, step up and step out of your comfort zone. It’s actually pretty exciting to anticipate a 2020 that will feel like a seismic shift toward company cultures focused on employee engagement, workplace transparency and worker differentiation. These trends are expected to promote a ‘culture-first’ decade for employers to recognize their employees’ individual knowledge and creativity as their core business asset.

A recent Glassdoor 2020 Study cited nine key cultural values identified most frequently by leading companies as having the greatest impact on results:

  • agility
  • collaboration
  • customer
  • diversity
  • execution
  • innovation
  • integrity
  • performance
  • respect

When interviewing for future jobs, aligning personal and professional assets with corporate values can be influential in a competitive marketplace.

What you can do

Rank the nine values in order of dominance for your personal brand. Which one leads? What are your top five values? What examples do you have of times when you demonstrated each value in action? Why do they matter to you? This is a good place to start.

What We Do Today Will Pay Off Tomorrow

Let go of what no longer serves you. Start with a fresh page and think about what you can change to become more marketable, stand out as an innovator, or reinvent your job. The key is not to wait for the cloud to lift. Prepare for reentry now. Successful people won’t be looking back and hoping for what was. They’ll be focusing on what’s next and becoming lead players in a world that’s been tossed upside down and turned inside out.

Despite this time of uncertainty, think like a strategist. Ask yourself, how do I envision work/life in 2 to 6 months and beyond? How will I do my work differently going forward? Why will that matter? What ideas do I have for leading and succeeding using tech and social media to engage in fresh and effective ways?

Now is the time to sharpen your competitive edge, reset your brand, and build your narrative on where you’re going rather than where you’ve been.

Your Competitive Edge Is Your Leverage

You may not have given this much thought. I’m speaking about the one trait that uniquely stands you apart from your competition. Now consider why that trait is of value to someone else and why they would pay to have you on their team, because what you do or how you do it is unlike how anyone else with similar skills delivers. What gap do you fill that no one else has been able to fill or do as well?

Your competitive edge is the bullseye of your brand. Once you discover it, polish it, hone it, shout about it. Leverage it to the hilt!

Diane Baranello
Diane Baranello
Founder at Coaching for Distinction

Diane Baranello is the Founder of Coaching for Distinction, a NYWICI Career Coach and former NYWICI Board Member. Diane is a catalyst for women at all career stages, sharing practical tools for building their brand from the inside-out and acknowledging the strength, confidence and talent that lies within.


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