Competence Triangulation. (Episode 112)

Competence Triangulation. (Episode 112)

Interview with José Angel Gutiérrez Goutréz. José is today HR Director, El Puerto de Liverpool.


In trigonometry and geometry, triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by forming triangles to the point from known points.

“Competence Triangulation” is the process of understanding your optimal skills and competencies by trying your expertise in totally different industries.

I was inspired to write about Competence Triangulation after having a very inspiring discussion with José Angel Gutiérrez Goutréz. José is today HR Director, El Puerto de Liverpool the largest retail company in Mexico.

José has worked in HR for Daimler (vehicles), IDESA (chemicals) and now Liverpool (department stores). One, an MNC, one a family owned company and one a local listed company.

Three totally different industries, with different challenges, different corporate structures and ways of working.

José: “Car factories are huge and complex, a chemical plant can be super efficient being run by just 8 people, and here, (at Liverpool) we have 75,000 employees, but every department stores is its own echo system. I have seen three totally different worlds, but HR is always HR.”

When you, like José, switch between such totally different industries – while at the same time sticking to your expertise – you get both the re-inventing of yourself that comes with starting over in a new industry you know nothing about – as well as getting a good understanding of what are your own “non-negotiables”, ie things that do not change even when your world changes.

You get refreshed and stay solid at the same time.

According to José his diverse industry experience has helped him expand his horizons in a way that makes it easier to connect with humans – something that is crucial when working in HR.

And putting himself in these totally different worlds has made it clearer for him to see who he really is as an HR manager. At every new career challenge he has been able to keep what is working while trying new ways of doing things where there is room for improvement.

José: “HR is HR, but HR is different everywhere.” and then he gives me an analogy: “Golf is golf, but every hole is different. If you want to become a really good golf player you cannot just play one hole, you have to play many different courses. That way, you get to experience many different environments while at the same time, you perfect your very own swing that is your swing regardless of where you play.”

José: “Having worked in (diverse industries) has helped me get a deeper understanding of what I am an expert on.”

How and when have you practiced Competence Triangulation to help yourself become the best version of your professional self?

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