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Building Capability

6 Business Capability Examples That Drive Organisational Success


What do business capabilities look like? In abstract terms, your business capabilities are the building blocks of your organisation to carry out its most important business processes and functions. To be more straightforward, they describe what your business does.

So, how do you define your different business capabilities for business capability mapping, and what do they look like? In this article, we’ll take a look at some examples of business capabilities and how you can assess them.


What is a business capability?

Business capabilities come from your business goals. They describe the skills, knowledge, processes, systems and resources possessed by an organisation that allow it to perform core functions and business strategy. They can be used to identify and prioritise projects and make strategic decisions, driving agility and generating value in the face of change.

The importance of creating business capabilities

Business capability modelling shows all the core capabilities that work together to help generate business value. With the right combination of core business capabilities, you’ll be able to drive success and meet business objectives.

Of course, building and creating business capabilities isn’t possible without providing learning and development. But corporate learning is broken. This is why Acorn has prioneered the first ever performance learning management system (PLMS), a dynamic AI-powered platform for L&D experiences synchronised to business performance. It’s designed to codify and operationalise business capabilities to improve organisational efficiency.

How to define business capabilities

Defining business capabilities is essential in creating a foundation for organisational success. A business capability should be derived from your business strategy as a measurable and repeatable ability that delivers value to stakeholders. 

There are a few key elements business capabilities must have.

6 business capability examples

When you build your business capability model, there are broad categories that your specific business capabilities are organised into. 

Business capabilities fall under six different types:

  1. Behavioural
  2. Dynamic
  3. Operational
  4. Strategic CSF
  5. Strategic firm resources
  6. Structural.

Once you’ve identified and categorised your capabilities, you’ll also need to define their competency levels.

So, without further ado, let’s look at some examples of each.

18 business capability examples from 6 different categories

Behavioural capability

We define a behavioural capability as:

“By using the necessary information and abilities, a person is actually able to carry out a behaviour. One must understand what to do and how to accomplish it in order to successfully conduct an activity. People discover lessons from their actions’ results, which have an impact on their environment as well.”

Essentially, a behavioural capability is just a habit that employees can easily and automatically carry out.


It’s one of the more obvious behavioural capabilities, but that doesn’t mean its cliché. Communication is the ability to exchange information and ideas through speaking, writing, or technology, allowing individuals to share thoughts, feelings and ideas with others.

It’s important not just for individual contributors but business leaders as well. Communication allows for relationship building, collaboration and achieving goals.

Let’s see how it looks through levels of competence.

Dynamic capability

Organisational economist and Professor in Global Business at the University of California’s Haas School of Business David J. Teece said it best:

“The firm’s ability to integrate, build, and reconfigure internal and external competences to address rapidly changing environments.”

In other words, these are the capabilities that allow you to adapt to and address industry change.


It might sound too broad to be a capability, but we promise that learning is one of the crucial capabilities to keep your business functioning.

Learning is gaining or acquiring knowledge or skill through study or experience. Generated organisational knowledge presents itself in new patterns of activity which successfully solve problems for the business. Learning helps in recognising dysfunctional routines (also known as areas of improvement) and preventing strategic blind spots.

So, how does it look in terms of competence levels?

Operational capability

This is your company’s ability to carry out its core activities and operations in an effective and efficient manner. Operational capabilities can include the ability to produce and deliver goods and services, manage supply chain operations, and respond to market demands.

Operational capabilities are integral to running a successful business, because they have a significant impact on its overall competitiveness and performance.

Operational innovation

This is a company’s ability to improve its processes and operations, increasing efficiency and effectiveness. It involves new technology, processes, or management methods, leading to increased productivity and competitiveness. Operational innovation allows businesses to remain competitive and continuously improve operations in response to industry changes.

Let’s take a look at operational innovation’s competence levels.

Strategic capability (CSF)

Strategic capability refers to a company’s unique abilities that allow it to create and sustain a competitive advantage in its industry. These abilities can be based on an organisation’s intangible and tangible resources, like the skills and expertise of employees and financial resources.

Critical success factors (CSF) are a specific area or activity essential for a business to achieve its goals as set by business leaders.

Reliable designs

Reliable designs refer to designs that consistently perform their intended function without failure or malfunction. For example, is your design robust enough to withstand normal wear and tear? Does it behave as intended? Reliable designs reduce the risk of product failures, decreasing customer dissatisfaction and financial losses for a business.

Let’s look at its level of competence in more detail.

Strategic capability (firm resources)

A company’s firm resources are all the resources it has at its disposal, including physical assets, intangible assets, and human capital, which are used to create a competitive advantage and meet strategic objectives.

Organisational culture

Organisational culture is the beliefs, values, and behaviours that characterise an organisation. It influences the way employees interact with each other and people outside the organisation. A strong organisational culture creates unity and purpose within the company, playing a role in attracting and retaining talented employees.

Let’s look at organisational culture through levels of competence.

Structural capability

Structural capabilities are the structures and systems your company has in place to support operations and achieve organisational objectives. These include the company’s formal and informal networks, decision-making processes, and systems for coordinating and controlling activities. It can also encompass a company’s systems to facilitate communication within the organisation.

Project management

Project management is the process of planning, organising, and managing resources to achieve a specific goal. It involves setting objectives, determining tasks and resources, and coordinating the efforts of team members to ensure that the project is completed on time and budget.

How does this look through levels of competence?

Assessing the effectiveness of business capabilities 

When you ask how effective your business capabilities are, you’re asking how well your organisation’s resources align with business goals and strategy. There are a few ways you can assess the effectiveness of your business capabilities.

Key takeaways

You need to be linking business capabilities to success. Or, in other words, business capabilities are specific to a business and its goals, so they need to be tailored to address pain points and adapt to potential scenarios in the future, providing the what and how of meeting desired outcomes.

This means defining the capabilities in your business capability model so that they fit six criteria:

  1. Strategic alignment
  2. Value delivery
  3. Sustainable
  4. Measurable
  5. Cross-functional
  6. Adaptable.

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