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Creating Competencies for Sustainable Success


A successful restaurant chain had undergone a culture change programme to revitalise the brand and facilitate General Managers (GMs) through the consequent behaviour change.

To build on the considerable progress already made, the next step was to gain a more in-depth understanding of the behavioural competency requirements for GMs to drive the business forward and achieve sustainable success.

Our Approach

The first stage of the project was to identify the skills and behaviours that differentiate really successful GMs in the future, and enable them to drive their businesses forward in a way that sustains the brand’s competitive advantage.

Some preliminary work had already been carried out in identifying these behaviours. Therefore, Human Qualities’ contribution focused on refining the existing data, gathering further structured input, external benchmarking, and weighting the collated data to agree the priority behaviours.

In addition to conducting structured interviews with GMs and their managers, it was important to understand the changing needs of the business, so that the competencies would have a future focus. To achieve this we conducted interviews with the Executive, using a range of structured visionary techniques, to understand their vision for the future of the business and the consequent implications for the skills needed of GMs.

We also used a culture “audit” tool with the Executive to gain a view of the current and desired future culture, which we externally benchmarked against other organisations. This “gap” analysis was also used to inform the competency design.


The outcome of this project stage was a set of three “Success Differentiators” – business leader competencies that truly focused on the behaviours differentiating great GMs of the future. These were memorable and easy to use. To assist with their embedding in the business, all GMs attended a development workshop, facilitated by Human Qualities in conjunction with the Learning and Development Manager, where they gained familiarity with the Success Differentiators and received feedback on their performance around these, through a bespoke 360 o feedback tool designed by Human Qualities. This created a language and shared understanding around these behaviours.

Human Qualities has since worked with the organisation to review and refine role descriptions and recruitment processes around the Success Differentiators, for a range of management levels. This has helped the organisation to recruit and develop its management pipeline, right from trainee level, facilitating succession planning and promotion of managers within the organisation to GM positions.