The 10 Critical Core Competencies of High Performers

Core competencies - The Right Questions
US soldier by morning calm weekly newspaper, via fotopedia

What skills and core competencies do you need to succeed and stand out in the work place?

How do you stand out in the workplace? What core competencies must you have to be successful in business? Work in all sectors is increasingly dynamic, and in order to succeed, employees must have the ability to deal with complexity, identify critical information, make sound decisions, and collaborate effectively with people both inside and outside their immediate environment. The problem is, many people lack the skills that employers need to achieve their goals.

CEB, a member-based advisory company based in the US, has recently published research looking into this challenge and the results are of vital importance to employers and employees alike. As a consultant friend of mine noted ‘this is gold dust!’ If you are wanting to be hired or looking to hire people then you should be thinking about this list of core competencies.

But before the list, here is Conrad Schmidt, global research officer for CEB, who frames the problem in this way:

“Employees today have more ambiguous objectives and are working with larger groups of stakeholders, making both flexibility and the ability to collaborate ‘must-have’ competencies for companies seeking higher levels of performance. Important business decisions are also being made lower in the organization, putting an even higher premium on good judgment. Building the next generation of high-performers will require organizations to cultivate these skills within their employee base and to be keenly aware of the dramatic shifts occurring in today’s work environment.”

What are the top 10 competencies?

CEB looked at the performance of over 20,000 workers from across the globe, incorporating data gathered from more than 40 different organisations. The conclusion of the study was that there are 10 competencies that, when exhibited together, identify someone as a high performer. The core competencies are:

  1. Ability to Prioritize
  2. Works well in teams
  3. Organizational Awareness
  4. Effective Problem Solving
  5. Self-Awareness
  6. Proactivity
  7. Ability to Influence
  8. Effective Decision Making
  9. Learning Agility
  10. Technical savvy

How can you develop the essential competencies?

The Right Questions is a framework that can be used as a tool to address these core competencies.  If you are seeking to improve in one of these areas then coaching can be a highly effective way to help you develop in these key areas.

Coaching, when done well, supports a client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal generally through facilitation of thinking.  This creates an environment of learning for the coachee.

Coaching can be described as:

Unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance. (Whitmore 2009: 11)


The art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another. (Downey, 2003:21)

Research has confirmed that one-to-one coaching is the most effective and satisfying way to help people achieve their goals.  This is compared to group coaching, teaching or self-coaching (Losch et al; 2016).

If you would like to find out more about coaching and how to find a coach then please do email me via our contact page.

 If you would like some free coaching content then please do sign up to my email list.


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