Core competencies: What all employees need to be successful

For American Enterprise to be successful, we all need to work toward the same mission, vision, and goals. Competencies are observable or measurable knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors that are critical to an individual’s successful performance. At American Enterprise, we’ve identified eight core competencies that are necessary for individuals to demonstrate and critical to the company’s success. 


Expect change, proactively deal with change, and make change part of “business as usual.”

It is often said, “There is one constant in life, and that is change.” Change can be exhilarating, disruptive, frightening, exciting, and frustrating all at the same time. How we deal with change often affects how well or poorly we adapt to it. Personally and professionally, we will be more effective if we proactively deal with change. This might include being patient as we learn something new, helping others understand a different process, or adopting a new method even when the results are unknown.


Share information by conveying ideas and facts in a way others will understand and listen to understand others.

Communication is a critical skill in all positions, whether talking with a customer on the phone, discussing a project with a coworker, or writing an email to an external vendor. Good communication skills enable us to clearly understand work expectations, have open dialog around projects, and get buy-in on change initiatives. Excellent communication skills minimize misunderstandings and confusion, which can lead to frustration and expensive errors. 
Through open discussion, active listening, and asking questions, we learn more about our customers, improve processes, and work better with our colleagues. We help each other become even better communicators by listening closely to one another, asking questions to understand, and providing specific feedback.

Customer focus

Build and maintain customer satisfaction with the products and services offered by the organizations. 

Being customer focused means putting the customer at the forefront in everything we do. When we set up a process, launch a project, answer a phone call, or respond to an email, we put ourselves in the customers’ shoes and think about issues from their viewpoints. 
Our customers can range from those who need our products and services, internally or externally, to a coworker in another department who needs data to complete a project.

Critical thinking and decision making

Examine data to understand issues, draw conclusions, and solve problems; make timely, informed decisions that take into account the facts, goals, constraints, and risks.

We make decisions every day. Some are easier to make than others, and in most cases, we need to use critical-thinking skills to make good decisions. Those critical-thinking skills require us to determine what information we need and then gather it, interpret it, and evaluate it, while being aware that our own bias, assumptions, and beliefs can affect the quality of our thinking.
Making a good decision also requires us to consider the desired goals, budget requirements, available resources, effects on others, and deadlines. For each option, we must weigh the benefits and the risks before we can make a logical decision about the best course of action.

Financial acumen

Understand financial matters and respond accordingly. 

American Enterprise has many valuable resources that contribute to its success: people, products, financial assets, corporate knowledge, and more. To use these resources wisely, we all must understand how they affect and contribute to our financial position.


Develop fresh ideas and solutions to organizational challenges.

As the marketplace and workplace change, we face new and interesting challenges that require innovative solutions. To succeed, we all need to look at business challenges, existing processes, and the marketplace with fresh eyes toward solutions that can improve service, develop products to address changing needs, and streamline work.


Promote cooperation and commitment within a team to achieve goals and deliverables.

Teamwork is very important for accomplishing our goals. To succeed, both individually and as an organization, we must rely on one another and work well together by treating each other with respect, addressing conflict when it occurs, and recognizing the contributions of others.

People management

Lead others to achieve personal, team, and organizational objectives.

NOTE: This competency is for leaders with direct reports.
American Enterprise can’t meet any goals without employees, and leaders are the ones who support those employees. Effective leaders set the work environment’s tone, communicate goals, provide direction, and encourage employees along the way.

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