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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Core Competence Refinement for Construction Firm in Sustainable Building


There are countless scenarios that require Core Competence. Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Core Competence to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. Let us analyze the following scenario.

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Consider this scenario: The organization specializes in sustainable building practices within the construction industry.

Despite a robust portfolio and strong market demand for green construction, the company has struggled to maintain competitive advantage due to outdated core competencies. With an increasing number of entrants in the sustainable construction space, the organization is seeking ways to refine and enhance its core competencies to sustain growth and market leadership.



In assessing the organization's situation, two hypotheses emerge: firstly, that the organization's core competences are not adequately aligned with the evolving demands of the sustainable construction market; and secondly, that there may be internal capability gaps or inefficiencies undermining the organization's ability to execute on its strategic vision.

Strategic Analysis and Execution Methodology

To address the underlying issues within the organization's core competencies, a structured 4-phase consulting methodology is recommended. This tested approach will facilitate a thorough analysis and strategic reorientation of the organization's core competencies, leading to improved competitive positioning and business performance.

  1. Assessment of Current Core Competencies: Begin with a comprehensive review of the organization's existing core competencies, including an analysis of the organization's strategic assets, resources, and capabilities. Key questions to address include: How do these competencies align with current and future market needs? What are the gaps and redundancies? The deliverables will include a Core Competency Assessment Report and a Strategic Fit Analysis.
  2. Market and Competitive Analysis: Examine the sustainable construction landscape to identify trends, innovations, and competitor strategies. Key activities involve conducting market research, benchmarking, and competitive intelligence. Insights gained will inform the organization’s strategic direction, with interim deliverables such as a Competitive Benchmarking Report and a Market Trends Analysis.
  3. Capability Gap Analysis: Identify internal capability gaps and inefficiencies that hinder the organization's performance. This phase involves evaluating processes, organizational structure, and talent management. Potential insights include identifying areas for process optimization and talent development. Deliverables will consist of a Capability Gap Report and an Operational Efficiency Plan.
  4. Core Competency Development Plan: Consolidate findings from the previous phases to formulate a strategic plan to refine and develop core competencies. Key activities include strategy workshops, capability building initiatives, and change management planning. The final deliverables will include a Core Competency Development Blueprint and an Implementation Roadmap.

Learn more about Change Management Talent Management Core Competencies

For effective implementation, take a look at these Core Competence best practices:

Organizational Design and Capability Analysis (31-slide PowerPoint deck)
Leadership Competency Model (25-slide PowerPoint deck)
Core Competencies Analysis (17-slide PowerPoint deck)
Competency Model & Matrix Development (37-page Word document)
5 Leadership Practices of Capabilities-Driven Strategy (CDR) (25-slide PowerPoint deck)
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Executive Audience Engagement

Executives may question the alignment of the new core competencies with long-term business strategy. The methodology ensures that the Core Competency Development Plan is closely tied to the organization's strategic objectives, thereby ensuring coherence between daily operations and long-term vision. Another concern may relate to the scalability of the new competencies. The plan is designed with scalability in mind, allowing the organization to adjust its competencies as it grows or as market conditions evolve. Lastly, executives often scrutinize the cost-benefit analysis of such transformations. The methodology includes a comprehensive financial model that projects the financial impact of the new core competencies on the organization's bottom line.

Expected Business Outcomes

Upon successful implementation of the methodology, the organization can expect to see a sharper strategic focus with refined core competencies that are more closely aligned with market needs. This should lead to increased competitive advantage and market share. Additionally, operational efficiencies are projected to improve, leading to cost savings and enhanced profitability.

Learn more about Competitive Advantage

Potential Implementation Challenges

Resistance to change within the organization is a common challenge when implementing new strategies. Effective change management techniques will be critical to mitigate this. Another potential challenge is the integration of new competencies with existing systems and processes, which may require careful planning and execution.

Core Competence KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


What gets measured gets done, what gets measured and fed back gets done well, what gets rewarded gets repeated.
     – John E. Jones

  • Market Share Growth: To measure the competitiveness of the new core competencies.
  • Cost Savings: To assess the impact of operational efficiencies gained.
  • Employee Engagement Scores: To gauge the organization's adaptation to change.
  • Customer Satisfaction Ratings: To determine the effectiveness of the new competencies in meeting market needs.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

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Implementation Insights

During the implementation, it was found that aligning the organization's culture with the new core competencies was essential for success. According to McKinsey, 70% of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support. To address this, the organization invested in leadership development and communication programs, which proved pivotal in securing organization-wide buy-in.

Core Competence Deliverables

  • Core Competency Assessment Report (PDF)
  • Strategic Fit Analysis (PowerPoint)
  • Competitive Benchmarking Report (PDF)
  • Market Trends Analysis (PowerPoint)
  • Capability Gap Report (PDF)
  • Operational Efficiency Plan (Excel)
  • Core Competency Development Blueprint (PowerPoint)
  • Implementation Roadmap (PDF)
  • Financial Impact Model (Excel)

Explore more Core Competence deliverables

Core Competence Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Core Competence. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Core Competence subject matter experts.

Core Competence Case Studies

One case study involves a leading aerospace company that redefined its core competencies to focus on digital innovation and customer-centric solutions. As a result, they saw a 15% increase in customer satisfaction and a 20% reduction in time-to-market for new products. Another case study showcases a sports brand that realigned its core competencies towards sustainable materials and ethical supply chains, resulting in a 30% increase in brand loyalty among its target demographic.

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Alignment with Strategic Objectives

Ensuring that the new core competencies align with strategic objectives is paramount for the success of any organizational change. It is essential to have a strategic framework that connects the revised core competencies with the broader strategic goals. This alignment maximizes the relevance and impact of the core competencies on the organization's long-term success.

According to BCG, companies that align their core competencies with their strategic vision can see a 20% higher rate of successful strategy implementation compared to those that do not. This involves not only identifying and developing the competencies but also continuously evaluating and adjusting them as the market and strategic objectives evolve.

Learn more about Organizational Change

Scalability of New Competencies

The development of scalable core competencies is crucial to support growth and adapt to changing market conditions. Scalability means that the competencies can be expanded or modified without significant additional costs or disruptions to the business. This flexibility allows the organization to respond swiftly to opportunities or threats.

According to Deloitte, scalable competency models contribute to approximately 22% faster revenue growth and 19% higher profitability among top-performing companies. Scalable competencies are designed with a modular approach, allowing for rapid integration of new skills or technologies as they emerge.

Learn more about Revenue Growth

Cost-Benefit Analysis

The financial implications of refining core competencies cannot be overlooked. Executives need a clear understanding of the potential return on investment from such initiatives. A detailed cost-benefit analysis will provide a quantitative basis for decision-making, weighing the potential benefits against the costs and risks involved.

Accenture reports that companies which conduct thorough cost-benefit analyses on strategic initiatives like core competency development are 1.6 times more likely to achieve their expected returns on investment. This underscores the importance of rigorous financial modeling and scenario planning in the strategic decision-making process.

Learn more about Scenario Planning Return on Investment Financial Modeling

Change Management and Employee Buy-In

Change management is a critical component of any core competency refinement initiative. The success of such a transformation is heavily dependent on employees' willingness to embrace new ways of working. Effective communication, training, and involvement are key to securing employee buy-in.

According to McKinsey, successful change programs are three times more likely to succeed when they include comprehensive change management initiatives. This includes clear communication of the reasons for change, the benefits expected, and the support available to employees throughout the transition.

Learn more about Effective Communication

Integration with Existing Systems and Processes

The integration of new core competencies with existing systems and processes presents a significant challenge. The new competencies must be embedded into the organization's workflows, technologies, and culture without disrupting ongoing operations. This requires careful planning, phased rollouts, and ongoing support.

Research from Gartner indicates that 75% of organizations that plan for the integration of new competencies with existing systems at the outset of a change initiative report successful adoption. This highlights the necessity for a robust integration strategy.

Measuring Success of Core Competency Initiatives

Measuring the success of core competency initiatives is essential to understand their impact and guide further investment. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) must be identified and tracked to gauge progress and determine whether the intended benefits are being realized.

KPMG’s analysis reveals that organizations that establish and monitor clear KPIs related to core competency initiatives are 2.5 times more likely to achieve the desired outcomes. These KPIs should be linked to strategic objectives and include both leading and lagging indicators to provide a comprehensive view of performance.

Learn more about Key Performance Indicators

Additional Resources Relevant to Core Competence

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Increased market share by 15% within a year, indicating enhanced competitive advantage in the sustainable construction market.
  • Achieved a 20% reduction in operational costs through process optimization and efficiency improvements.
  • Employee engagement scores improved by 30%, reflecting successful cultural alignment and change management.
  • Customer satisfaction ratings rose by 25%, demonstrating the effectiveness of the new core competencies in meeting market needs.
  • Financial impact model projected a 22% increase in profitability over the next three years, based on current trends.

The initiative to refine and enhance core competencies within the sustainable construction company has been markedly successful. The significant increase in market share and customer satisfaction ratings directly reflects the alignment of the company's core competencies with market demands. The reduction in operational costs and the projected increase in profitability underscore the financial viability and strategic foresight of the initiative. However, the success could have been further amplified by addressing potential scalability challenges more aggressively, ensuring that the new competencies could be easily adapted or expanded in response to future market changes. Additionally, a more granular focus on integrating new technologies could have provided a stronger competitive edge.

Given the positive outcomes and insights gained, the next steps should focus on continuous improvement and scalability of the new core competencies. It is recommended to establish a dedicated team to monitor market trends and competitor strategies continuously, ensuring the company remains at the forefront of sustainable construction. Furthermore, investing in technology and innovation should be prioritized to enhance operational efficiencies and customer offerings. Finally, ongoing training and development programs for employees will be crucial to maintain high engagement levels and adaptability to change, securing the long-term success of the initiative.

Source: Core Competence Refinement for Construction Firm in Sustainable Building, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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