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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Core Competence Refinement for Global Consumer Goods Company

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, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: A multinational consumer goods corporation is grappling with a dilution of its Core Competence due to rapid expansion and diversification.

The company has grown its product portfolio and entered new markets over the past decade, which has led to a complexity in operations and a blurring of its Core Competence. The organization is seeking to re-align its Core Competence with its strategic objectives to ensure sustainable competitive advantage.

multinational's situation suggests two primary hypotheses. First, the company's Core Competence may have been diffused due to its aggressive expansion and diversification. Second, the company may be experiencing difficulty in identifying and focusing on its Core Competence due to the complexity of its operations.


A comprehensive 5-phase approach to Core Competence can be employed to address the company's challenges.

Phase 1 involves a detailed analysis of the company's current Core Competence, including how it has evolved over time and how it is perceived by internal and external stakeholders. Key questions include: What is the current Core Competence? How does it align with the company's strategic objectives? What are the perceptions of stakeholders?

Phase 2 involves identifying gaps between the current Core Competence and the desired Core Competence. This involves benchmarking against industry best practices and competitor analysis.

Phase 3 focuses on developing a strategy to realign the Core Competence with the company's strategic objectives. This includes identifying key initiatives and resources required.

Phase 4 involves the implementation of the strategy, including monitoring and managing the change process.

Phase 5 is the evaluation of the effectiveness of the strategy, including measuring outcomes against pre-defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Learn more about Core Competence Key Performance Indicators Best Practices

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

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Competency Model & Matrix Development (37-page Word document)
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Key Considerations

The CEO may be concerned about the time and resources required for this process. However, it's important to note that the refinement of Core Competence is a strategic imperative that can drive long-term competitive advantage. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, companies that focus on their Core Competence can achieve up to 30% higher return on assets.

The CEO may also question the feasibility of changing the company's Core Competence. It should be emphasized that the goal is not to change the Core Competence, but to refine and realign it with the company's strategic objectives.

Another concern may be the potential resistance to change within the organization. This can be mitigated through effective change management practices and by ensuring alignment with the company's culture and values.

Learn more about Change Management Competitive Advantage

Expected Business Outcomes

  • Improved alignment between Core Competence and strategic objectives
  • Increased competitive advantage
  • Enhanced operational efficiency
  • Improved stakeholder perception

Potential Implementation Challenges

  • Resistance to change
  • Resource constraints
  • Complexity of the organization

Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators

  • Alignment of Core Competence with strategic objectives
  • Stakeholder perception of Core Competence
  • Competitive advantage
  • Operational efficiency

Sample Deliverables

  • Core Competence Analysis Report (PowerPoint)
  • Strategy Development Plan (PowerPoint)
  • Implementation Plan (Excel)
  • Change Management Plan (MS Word)
  • Progress Report (MS Word)

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.

Case Studies

Companies like Apple and Samsung have successfully refined their Core Competence through strategic focus and innovation. These companies have managed to maintain their competitive advantage in the highly competitive technology industry by continuously refining their Core Competence.

Explore additional related case studies

Additional Insights

It's crucial to involve all stakeholders in the process of refining the Core Competence. This ensures buy-in and facilitates effective implementation.

Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the Core Competence is essential to ensure its alignment with the company's strategic objectives.

It's important to ensure that the company's culture and values are aligned with its Core Competence. This can facilitate effective implementation and acceptance of the refined Core Competence.

Competitor Benchmarking and Industry Best Practices

In the face of expanding product portfolios and market diversification, executives often ponder how their company's Core Competence measures up against industry leaders. A rigorous competitor benchmarking exercise can reveal where a company stands in relation to its peers and highlight areas for improvement. By analyzing competitors who have maintained a strong focus on their Core Competence, the company can learn valuable lessons on managing complexity without losing strategic focus.

For instance, a report by McKinsey & Company shows that leading firms invest significantly in capabilities that directly contribute to their strategic goals, while divesting in areas that do not. By following this approach, the company can streamline operations and focus on areas where it can truly differentiate itself. The competitor benchmarking phase is critical as it sets the foundation for identifying the gaps in the company’s current competencies and the industry standard.

Learn more about Benchmarking

Change Management and Cultural Alignment

Resistance to change is often rooted in a misalignment between the company's culture and the proposed strategic direction. An effective change management plan should address this by articulating the benefits of refining the Core Competence to all stakeholders. The plan must also outline the steps the company will take to ensure that the change is gradual, inclusive, and respectful of the company's values. According to Deloitte, over 70% of change initiatives fail due to negative employee attitudes and unproductive management behavior. To mitigate this, the company should invest in leadership development and training programs that prepare managers to lead through change.

Moreover, the communication strategy should be tailored to different stakeholder groups, providing clarity on how the realignment of Core Competence will benefit them. This personalized approach can foster a positive perception of the change and reduce resistance. Additionally, involving employees in the change process can give them a sense of ownership, which can further reduce resistance and improve the chances of successful implementation.

Learn more about Leadership

Resource Allocation and Prioritization

Concerns regarding resource constraints are valid, especially in a complex organization undergoing a strategic shift. Prioritizing initiatives that are closely aligned with the refined Core Competence is essential. According to Bain & Company, effective resource allocation can lead to 20% higher returns on investment for companies that strategically focus their financial and human capital on their core businesses.

The company must conduct a thorough assessment of its current resource allocation and identify areas where resources can be optimized. This may involve restructuring operations, divesting non-core assets, or reallocating talent to initiatives that support the Core Competence. By doing so, the company not only ensures that its resources are directed towards areas with the highest potential for competitive advantage but also signals to stakeholders the seriousness of its commitment to the realignment process.

Measuring the Impact of Realignment

Post-implementation, measuring the impact of the realignment process is crucial for validating the strategy and making necessary adjustments. KPIs should be established to track the progress of the company’s Core Competence realignment. These KPIs could include financial metrics such as return on investment and market share, as well as non-financial metrics like employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

Measurement tools should be designed to provide real-time feedback, allowing for quick course corrections if needed. A study by PwC found that companies that regularly measure their strategic initiatives' effectiveness are 57% more likely to achieve their goals. Therefore, the company must invest in robust analytics capabilities to track these KPIs effectively and make data-driven decisions.

Ultimately, the company’s ability to refine its Core Competence and align it with its strategic objectives will be evident in its performance. Successful realignment will lead to enhanced competitive advantage, operational efficiency, and improved stakeholder perception—outcomes that are well worth the investment in this strategic endeavor.

Learn more about Employee Engagement Customer Satisfaction Return on Investment

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Key Findings and Results

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

  • Improved alignment between Core Competence and strategic objectives, leading to a 15% increase in market share.
  • Enhanced operational efficiency resulting in a 20% reduction in operational costs.
  • Increased competitive advantage, reflected by a 30% higher return on assets compared to industry average.
  • Improved stakeholder perception, with a 25% increase in positive feedback from customers and employees.
  • Successful divestiture of non-core assets, reallocating resources to initiatives supporting Core Competence.
  • Implementation of a robust change management plan reduced resistance to change and increased employee engagement by 40%.

The initiative to realign the company's Core Competence with its strategic objectives has been highly successful. The quantifiable improvements in market share, operational efficiency, competitive advantage, and stakeholder perception validate the effectiveness of the strategy. The reduction in operational costs and the strategic reallocation of resources towards core initiatives have positioned the company for sustainable growth. The successful management of change, evidenced by the significant increase in employee engagement, underscores the importance of cultural alignment and stakeholder involvement in strategic initiatives. However, the journey highlighted the challenge of managing complexity in a diversified multinational corporation. Alternative strategies, such as more aggressive investment in digital transformation or a more phased approach to divestiture, might have further enhanced outcomes by streamlining operations and accelerating the realignment process.

For next steps, it is recommended to continue the rigorous monitoring and evaluation of the Core Competence alignment, leveraging the established KPIs to ensure sustained alignment with strategic objectives. Further investment in leadership development and training programs is advised to maintain high levels of engagement and leadership capability across all levels of the organization. Additionally, exploring opportunities for digital transformation to further enhance operational efficiency and stakeholder engagement should be considered. Finally, the company should remain vigilant in identifying emerging trends and shifts in the competitive landscape to adapt and refine its Core Competence accordingly, ensuring long-term competitive advantage and sustainability.

Source: Core Competence Refinement for Global Consumer Goods Company, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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