10 core competencies critical for organizational success

Companies that are adaptive, creative and resilient deliver revenue growth over two times the industry average, according to a new Forrester report.

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A “customer obsession” will be the North Star for forward-thinking CIOs, CTO and chief data officers who must reimagine their approach to technology to stay competitive. They must also embrace a “future fit technology strategy,” according to a new report from Forrester.

This type of strategy is critical because it empowers organizations to aggressively focus on customer needs even during uncertain times and changing business needs, according to the report, “The 10 Core Competencies You Need To Be Future Fit.”

SEE: CIOs at Cisco Live discuss the modern CIO and the changing work world (TechRepublic)

“Technology will accelerate the ability to quickly address new customer, market, and competitive realities as they arise. Simply put, a future fit technology strategy enables firms to become adaptive, creative, and resilient,” the report said.

Competencies that set future fit leaders apart

There are 10 core competencies that fall into the categories of adaptive, creative and resilient, according to Forrester.


Adaptive firms utilize emerging customer and market insights and proactively reconfigure themselves to get or stay ahead. The Forrester study found five adaptive competencies that correlated to higher revenue growth.

1.   Support major business strategy changes with technology architecture. Firms that strongly agreed their technology did this reported growth 2.4 times the industry average.

2.  Have a culture that embraces constant change. 22% of respondents said their organization had a culture that embraces constant change; those that did reported growth of 2.3 times the industry average.

3.  Partner with startups to bring disruptive innovations to market. 13% of survey respondents said that this was a critical priority, but those that did also reported growth of 2.7 times the industry average.

4.  Experiment with new technologies to discover new business opportunities. Respondents that said “experiment with new technologies to discover new business opportunities” was a critical priority reported growth that was 2.5 times the industry average.

5.  Fail fast. Only 18% of respondents strongly agreed that their organization has a “culture of promoting fast failure to support rapid experimentation.” Those who strongly agreed with this sentiment reported growth of 2.4 times the industry average.


This is about the ability to bring emotion and engagement into digital customer experiences. To overcome “digital sameness,” organizations must deploy creative technology. The creative characteristics set leading-edge firms apart when they:

6.    Promote creativity throughout the organization. Respondents who said their company was “very creative” reported growth that was 2.5 times the industry average; those that said their company was “not at all creative” reported growth that is 0.65 times the industry average.

7.   Increase time for employees to innovate. Only 12% of survey respondents cited this as a critical priority, but those who did also reported growth of 2.6 times the industry average.


Resilient leaders deliver on product vision and brand promise–no matter the crisis. Respondents found a correlation between resilient characteristics and revenue growth when they:

8.   Identify business continuity risks. Only 24% of respondents “strongly agreed” that gathering “insights about business continuity risks” is a top business priority for their organization. Those who strongly agreed reported revenue growth 2.2 times the industry average.

9.  Use technology to prepare for and respond to change. 22% of respondents said they strongly agreed that their organization “is structured to be flexible so we can easily change quickly to absorb unexpected and highly disruptive events such as pandemics, civil unrest, financial and supply system failures, resource shortages, etc.” Firms that strongly agreed with both statements reported a growth rate of 2.3 times the industry average.

10.  Promote resiliency throughout the firm. 27% of respondents said that “making their firm more resilient” was a critical priority for them to drive innovation outcomes across the organization’s business. Firms that strongly agreed with both statements reported a growth rate of two times the industry average.

Forrester said the data is based on quantitative analysis of more than 10,000 consumer and employee survey responses from its North American 2020 Future Fit Technology Survey, along with qualitative analysis of numerous interviews with successful tech leaders.

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