I love our written mission statement and values, but to realize these we need a strategy that plays to our strengths. What are the things we should capitalize on, what are our core competencies? We’ve been thinking through this with three criteria in mind (stolen from a few easy to find articles and at least one YouTube video). A core competency does three things:
- Provides access to a wide variety of markets. Our s’more pocket dessert may be the best any camper has ever had, but that’s too narrow to turn into a strategy. But an overwhelming strength in adventure, or the arts, or faith development may be worth noting.
- It contributes to the camper and parent experience. If they don’t recognize it then it is probably not helpful. “We have great health insurance for staff” won’t work, but an extremely happy professional staff with low turnover may.
- It’s hard for others to imitate. Other camps may not want to run the kind of programs you are especially good at, or you may be so far ahead that it is hard to catch up.
I like thinking through this because it helps us find our niche. North Carolina has the strongest collection of camps in the world, and I love seeing each one be really great at what they are best at doing. And of course that’s exactly what we like seeing happen with our campers too.