Identifying Strategic Resources

All businesses have corporate competencies and resources that distinguish them from their competitors. These competencies and resources are usually identified in terms of a company's strengths and weaknesses. Deciding upon what a company should do can only be achieved after assessing the strengths and weaknesses to determine what the company can do. Strengths support windows of opportunities, whereas weaknesses create limitations. What a company can do is based upon the quality of its resources.

Strengths and weaknesses can be identified at all levels of management. Senior management may have a clearer picture of the overall company's position in relation to the external environment, whereas middle management may have a better grasp of the internal strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, most managers do not think in terms of strengths and weaknesses and, as a result, they worry more about what they should do than about what they can do.

Although all organizations have strengths and weaknesses, no organization is equally strong in all areas. Procter & Gamble, Budweiser, Coke, and Pepsi are all known for their advertising and marketing. Computer firms are known for technical strengths, whereas General Electric has long been regarded as the training ground for manufacturing executives. Large firms have vast resources with strong technical competency, but they often react slowly when change is needed. Small firms can react quickly but have limited strengths. Any organization's strengths and weaknesses can change over time and must, therefore, be closely monitored.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal measurements of what a company can do and assessment of them must be based upon the quality of the company's resources. Consider the situation shown in Figure 3-6. Even a company with a world-class methodology in project management will not be able to close the performance gap in Figure 3-6 until the proper internal or subcontracted resources are available. Methodologies, no matter how good, are executed by use of resources. Project management methodologies do not guarantee success. They simply increase the chances for success provided that (1) the project objective is realistic and (2) the proper resources are available along with the skills needed to achieve the objective.

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