The long term success and sustainability of the organization depends on its competitiveness in the global economic environment of “VUCA” (volatile, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). Capability development for competitiveness is one of the areas of concern for Training and Business Managers. People’s competence development focuses on imparting knowledge, skills and developing desired traits, whereas, People’s capability development focuses on development of their confidence to apply acquired knowledge, skills and developed traits in a varied context of competitive environment.

Capability development is the transformation of competency development to “People and Organization” capability development in a systematic manner with a meaning and purpose to achieve overarching strategic objectives. Capability development is not a transection, but a program management. Until recent past, the focus was on competency development. The need of the hour is to shift focus from competency to capability development.

The long term sustainable competitive advantage of any organization can be ensured when:

(1) People are viewed as value creators. The People, through application of their knowledge, skills and attitude, improve quality, productivity, operational efficiency, effectiveness of organization and achieve customer delight by offering innovative products. The organization becomes cost competitive when People find ways to reduce cost and offer unique differentiating products to customers. Such capability gets developed when the Training Manager trains the people in the area of Operational Excellence. Gemba Kaizen, 5S, Lean Management, Six Sigma, Eight Deadly Wastes, TQM, Gemba Kaizen Circles, Seven Steps of Problem Solving and Seven QC Tools are some of the basic and popular training interventions deployed to enhance functional skills of people. Such investment for capability development can be linked to ROI in terms of saving cost by 2-4 % through training. 

(2) People are viewed as rare resources and the appreciating human capital asset.
 The role of Training and Business Managers have become inevitable to identify and impart unique knowledge, skills and develop abilities to understand customer requirements, product applications, value chain, technology, systems, cost and quality etc. Such unique knowledge, skills and abilities are not equally available to competitors and thus lead to competitiveness. Customer value management through customer circles, value attribute tree and enhancing price realization etc.

are some of the most contemporary interventions deployed and facilitated by Training Manager. Such investment for capability development can be linked to ROI in terms of improving price realization by 1-2 % through training.

(3)People are viewed as difficult to copy by competition. People’s outstanding contribution, active participation, dedication and commitment, loyalty and ownership, entrepreneurship and leadership at all the levels, team work and organization citizenship behaviour, culture, beliefs and value systems are some of the factors just impossible to copy by competitors. These factors enhance the competitiveness of the organization.

The role of Training and Business Manager is to drive Leadership Development and Managerial Excellence initiatives as a part of Rational and Emotion Engagement at various levels across the organization. Vision, Mission and Value percolations, business stimulus workshops for strategy awareness and development, Strategy Map and Balanced Scorecard development programs facilitated by a Training Manager helps People to develop their strategic thinking capability. The strategic thinking capability of People makes their organization stronger in positioning themselves, creating differentiation by offering unique value proposition, making customers to know, what they should want and offering the same to them. It also helps People develop “differentiate or die” kind of attitude which leads to competitiveness. Such training interventions can be linked to ROI in terms of numbers of competitors out-distanced, brand switchover, market share etc.

(4) People’s talent can be combined, deployed and organized at short notice to execute new assignments. The role of Training and Business Manager is to develop agile, nimble and swift organization. HRIS, HR analytics, project management, cross-functional teams, multilevel managerial teams, mindset transformation and agility are some of the common training interventions deployed. Such capability of People makes the organization competitive to execute customer orders at short notice and duration.

Therefore, in true sense, capability development initiatives can enhance competitiveness of organization in terms of profitability, market share, innovative products, desired growth, delighted stakeholders, happy people and society at large. The capability development can be viewed from three different angles. First – Strategic, Execution and Operational capability. Second – Organizational, Team and Individual capability. Third – Corporate, SBU, Divisional, Department and Section level capability.

The competitiveness is not only dependent on available knowledge, skills and abilities, but also very much dependent on the confidence of People with which they apply in varying competitive situations. People’s confidence is enhanced when they are motivated to apply their acquired knowledge and skills and opportunities are provided to demonstrate the same. This requires supportive culture, organization structure, leadership mentoring and some appropriate HR systems, policies and practices. The organization must have access to appropriate capabilities to harness and exploit Human Capital. The holistic approach is the real capability development.

The organization has a portfolio of capabilities that are used in various combinations to achieve strategic objectives. The portfolio of capabilities undergoes a life cycle of need identification, articulation, acquisition, application and obsolesce phases. This is the era of “Transient Capability Development” for competitiveness.

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