Thought Leadership - Sharing insights

November 30, 2017

Creating a Capability Framework

A major part of what makes your business unique is its capabilities.  They define your customers’ value and they distinguish you from your competitive set. If you are able to offer something that is unique, your customers will choose you to help them develop the category in their business.

A capability framework is an important tool for a high performing company:

  • It sets the tone and a common language for describing key attributes of a function
  • It allows you to focus your efforts on the areas that really matter to your customers
  • It is part of creating a sustainable competitive advantage
  • It allows the identification of key areas and how you are currently performing in these areas
  • A plan to develop expertise can be created following as assessment of current status.

The effectiveness of a team grows where there is an understanding of the criteria under which they perform, and where the overall team and the support structure is aligned.

Creating a set of capabilities

Where there is no existing framework in place, one needs to be created. It should include technical and professional know-how, personal competencies and behavioural skills.

If there is an existing model, it may need to be reviewed, refined and improved. As businesses grow and develop, the team’s requirements may change.

The framework should comprise of a diagnostic tool that identifies the key areas of expertise with supporting evidential statements for three levels – good, better, best. It should include an area where the evidence is seen can be recorded and should incorporate a summary sheet with a visual representation of the findings.

Assessing organisation capabilities

Once the framework is agreed an assessment should be undertaken. This involves visiting the market/business unit/team for whom the framework is set. Employees who are part of the team should be interviewed as well as a broader set of internal clients. Existing materials that are currently in use/being produced should be reviewed and any available tools, data and software provision and practices assessed.

Populate the framework and create a suggested roadmap good to great. This should identify key areas for improvement/development in three-time horizons – now, soon, later.

A specific plan is then created that identifies actions, owner, timescale and dependencies.

As with everything, if more effort is required in some areas, less effort will be required in others and there will be some post assessment work required to prioritise.

The outcome

An identified set of capabilities and a roadmap for improvement has clear benefits and is a way to grow business performance and create a high performing department.


Big River Solutions has extensive expertise creating capability frameworks in Shopper Marketing, Category Development and Trade Marketing. Our approach is pragmatic and practical, taking a holistic view of the needs of the organisation, the resources available and the desired future state of the organisation.

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