What makes a business stand out? Take Netflix. Not only did they succeed as an OTT platform, they even created their own content. Other platforms like SonyLIV have also started creating original content, taking a page out of Netflix’s book.

Netflix’s core competencies include original and unique content that sets it apart from its competitors.

Core competencies for business are what differentiate it from others. What your business can do, others can’t and that’s what gives you your edge.

Learn more about the meaning of core competencies and how they can help run a successful business.

  1. What Are Core Competencies?

  2. Core Competencies For Business

  3. Core Competencies For Today’s Professionals

  4. The Power Of Core Competencies

  5. Maximizing Core Competencies

What Are Core Competencies?

Core competencies are what define a business in terms of its offerings, work environment, people, brand and market standing. The concept of core competencies helps a business market itself in a way that sets it apart. A rare service that helps solve a problem, exceptional customer service or the ability to tap into current affairs and maximize it. Some of these core competencies make a business grow and stay ahead.

Some of the core competencies of a business are:

  • How authentic, reliable and valuable its products or services are

  • Treating employees with respect, adding to their job satisfaction

  • Investing in long-term growth strategies and planning to sustain competition

  • Contribution to benefit the society at large with social initiatives

  • Finding its niche and holding on to it—this can be in the market it operates, the quality of its product or even customer service

A business doesn’t necessarily have a single core competency. Everything that gives it its edge can be counted as a core competency. But successful brands are popular because they have that one thing that defines who they are, what they do and why they do it.

For instance, Apple is well-known for its sleek, minimal style and user-friendly interface. In their own words, Amazon’s core competency is that they’re the most customer-centric organization in the world. These are values that immediately remind us of these brands. If you want to build a business from the ground up, identifying your core competencies will enable you to achieve success.

Core Competencies For Business

Core competencies are the bedrock on which you set up a business. Once you have your competencies down pat, you can branch out and discover ways to innovate. Experimentation and creativity become a lot easier when you’ve established yourself as an expert in your field.

Here are examples of core competencies that can set your business apart:

  1. Customer-Centricity

Putting the customer’s needs first and foremost not only helps businesses thrive over time but also build loyalty. Apple’s core competency is its loyal customer base. Year after year, their products sell like hotcakes with each upgrade. When you’re building for the customer, your product or service will be tailored to how you can solve their problem—or add value to their lives. This ensures they look to you the next time you launch anything.

  1. Authenticity

Authenticity means your offering is original, high-quality and one-of-a-kind. If what you have is reliable and genuine, you’ll be able to stand apart from your competitors. Staying true to its vision and mission makes a business more than just a corporate machine. It means the business is driven by values, ethics and responsibility toward communities. You’re able to improve your business standing if you can be authentic.

  1. Transparency

Transparency makes sure a business is trustworthy. Communicating your expectations, plans and outcomes to internal and external stakeholders goes a long way. Everyone from employees to investors and customers will trust you and your way of doing business. Honesty is the way to ensure employees are committed to the organization’s mission. It also adds to the organizational culture.

  1. Accountability

Accountability doesn’t just impact your employees but also other communities like investors, clients, the environment and locals. Your business must always be ready to face the fire if things go south. For instance, the environmental impact of your business or how it affects the local community is your responsibility. Being aware of the environment in which you operate will help you identify areas where you need to take responsibility.

  1. Innovation And Creativity

Businesses today operate in diverse ways. They may be doing the same things, but differently. This is where innovation steps in. Not only does it drive your product or service in the market but also gives you an edge.

The examples of core competencies may vary. But what businesses have in common is the dedicated efforts they make to fulfill their core competencies.

Now that we’ve discussed the core competencies needed by businesses, professionals too need competencies that set them apart in a pool of people.

Core Competencies For Today’s Professionals

Technical skills are needed so you can do your job well. But another set of skills you need are foundational. These are skills that help you thrive in terms of building meaningful relationships, communicating well and expanding your professional network. These are the core competencies every professional needs for transformative career outcomes.

Here are sought-after core competencies that you can develop with experience, practice and learning:

  1. Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman defines emotional intelligence as the ability to perceive and understand emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth. Emotional intelligence stems from self-awareness, empathy and social skills. These are core competencies that enable you to connect with others, understand your strengths and weaknesses and identify what you’re passionate about.

  1. Win-Win Negotiation

Negotiating well is a key workplace skill, and a core competency that enables you to resolve conflicts. If you’re in a managerial role, for instance, negotiating well will help when you have to resolve a conflict between two employees. In a client meeting, win-win negotiations are the expected outcomes. This helps you keep the peace between parties and reach a decision that serves everyone’s needs.

  1. Performance Management

Performance management is the ability to assess an employee’s skills and identify improvement areas. A key aspect of performance management is the art of feedback. If you can learn to give and receive feedback well, you’ll build deeper connections in the workplace. You’re able to work out a way to become better at your job, and make others better at theirs.

  1. Effective Communication

Communication is one of the most essential core competencies for a professional. Whether it’s video calls, emails or taking minutes of a meeting, each aspect of workplace communication has to be seamless, clear and brief. Mastering communication skills will help you progress in your career.

  1. Collaboration

Another core competency necessary for professionals is the ability to collaborate with others. Team building, teamwork and organizational success depend on collaboration. If you can work well with others, you can achieve organizational goals effectively.

In the workplace, you’ll meet different people and engage with diverse job roles. Core competencies equip you with the toolkit to master being a professional. Over time and with experience, you can learn to decode workplace culture and excel in your role.

The Power Of Core Competencies

Whether it’s excellent writing skills or being resourceful, core competencies are powerful because they define who you are. This is especially helpful when you’re applying for a job, starting a new business or working as a freelancer.

Once you identify your strengths, you’re a lot more confident when you’re reaching out to people or putting yourself out there. Self-awareness, for instance, nudges you out of your comfort zone.

Core competencies in strategic management help organizations withstand heavy competition. They’re able to plan, implement and monitor processes and procedures with efficiency. Entrepreneurs can greatly benefit from implementing core competencies from the beginning. They help employees stay motivated, follow a code of conduct and prepare for setbacks. Action plans and contingency plans are part of core competencies. They are indicative of the organization’s ability to handle turbulence.

Maximizing Core Competencies

Harappa’s Navigating Workplace course will teach you how to identify an organization’s core competencies. Why this is helpful is because you can determine whether you’ll be a good fit for them. Often, we join an organization solely based on the job description. But other factors such as the work environment and office culture are equally important.

Learn with frameworks such as the Culture Fit tool and Stakeholder Map to navigate your way through an organization’s competencies. You’ll also learn how to deal with conflict by understanding differences and overcoming them. Assess the culture in your workplace and find out whether it’s the right one for you!


Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as Organizational Behavior, Organizational Culture, Organizational Structure and Types Of Organizational Structure to become a well-rounded professional.

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