"Persona took the time to understand our programs and made suggestions that add extra value They're part of the team not just a consultant to it."

Ali King Zurich Financial

"By including Persona's analysis exercise in our selection process, we were able to get a far better view of the candidates' strengths and weaknesses - this really helped us choose the best candidate for the role"

Andreas Kiefner Head of Global Strategic Planning, Sandoz


Persona has come up with a generic list of competencies given below. Each of our exercises is designed to provide assessors with good evidence of a selection of these competencies. The competencies are quite broad so if your company has a large framework of competencies you may find that one of our competency definitions encompasses a couple of your competencies.

Where you would like to use one of our exercises with your own in-company competency framework we are happy to advise on the best way of converting the exercise guidelines to your framework or to undertake this work for you.

Strategic Thinking

The ability to take the widest possible perspective, see the broader issues and the impact of these on the business as a whole.

  • Keeps abreast of developments in the outside world and evaluates the impact of these
  • Demonstrates an awareness of the whole organisation and links this through to own department, projects or people
  • Doesn’t get so bogged down in the detail that the bigger picture is missed

Analytical Thinking

The ability to gather, understand and interpret information; simplify complex problems and see causal links.

  • Sifts information and can identify the significant from the irrelevant
  • Identifies links between seemingly unrelated pieces of information
  • Critiques information, rather than just accepting it at face value
  • Interprets and evaluates information from a range of sources and in a variety of formats

Creative Thinking

The ability to generate original ideas, and/or utilise existing solutions/ideas in new and innovative ways.

  • Willing to explore new ideas and new approaches to doing things
  • Can visualise things not previously experienced
  • Can see how existing ideas can be changed to meet new requirements
  • Consistently able to come up with lots of ideas – rather than just presenting one

Planning and Organising

The ability to establish an efficient and appropriate course of action for self and others. Prioritises, plans and monitors activities taking into account all the relevant issues and factors such as deadlines, staffing and resources.

  • Makes the most efficient use of resources
  • Delegates tasks appropriately
  • Monitors and updates plans on an on-going basis
  • Consistently delivers to agreed deadlines

Decision Making

The ability to take the initiative, commit oneself, originate well reasoned action and be responsible for the consequences.

  • Makes timely decisions
  • Willing to ‘get off the fence’ and state own views and opinions
  • Consults appropriately
  • Makes decisions on the data available
  • Can make ‘on the spot’ decisions when necessary
  • Willing to express views even when these will be unpopular with others


The ability to outline a vision for the future and to motivate and manage people to achieve it.

  • Gives staff clear direction and purpose
  • Inspires others to achieve goals
  • Creates an environment which is both high-performing and supportive
  • Gives staff opportunities to do their best work
  • ‘Walks the talk’ – role models the behaviour expected

Managing Relationships

The ability to build and maintain effective working relationships.

  • Takes time to get to know people
  • Understands and is sensitive to the feelings and needs of others
  • Values individual differences
  • Takes the initiative in establishing new relationships
  • Establishes rapport quickly with new clients/people
  • Takes care to nurture both new and existing relationships

Team Working

The ability to work with others towards shared goals.

  • Maintains an appropriate level of contribution even when not particularly engaged in the subject matter
  • Puts the team outcome above own personal goals
  • Encourages the contributions of others in the team in order to maximise its effectiveness

Developing Others

The ability to recognise potential in others and develop skills and competencies through appropriate developmental activities.

  • Creates a climate in which potential can be realised
  • Constantly reviews performance and offers constructive feedback
  • Takes appropriate action where individuals are failing to reach the level of performance expected
  • Offers guidance and support to others
  • Makes the most of on-the-job activities to develop staff

Influencing and Persuading

The ability to draw from a range of strategies to convince others in a way that results in agreement or behaviour change.

  • Comes up with sound arguments to support ideas/actions
  • Is able to counter-argue without seeming aggressive or argumentative
  • Listens to other points of view to gain understanding
  • Checks for agreement rather than assuming compliance
  • Identifies key influencers in an organisation
  • Uses strength of argument rather than position to influence others


The ability to express ideas clearly and ensure they are understood, adopting styles and techniques which are appropriate to the audience and the type of information.

  • Chooses the most appropriate communication method for the message i.e. face to face, e-mail, phone
  • Listens actively
  • Encourages two-way communication
  • Checks for understanding
  • Communicates in a timely fashion
  • Takes responsibility for the message

Performance Orientation

The ability to set high standards and maintain the commitment, motivation and energy to achieve them.

  • Constantly seeks to improve the standard of work produced
  • Sets appropriately demanding goals
  • Invests energy readily, even when dealing with mundane tasks
  • Persists even when faced with pressure, set-backs or provocation
  • Bounces back from disappointments
  • Keeps problems in perspective


The ability to identify own strengths and areas of development and to apply opportunities for learning and development.

  • Sets aside time for own development
  • Actively seeks feedback from a range of people
  • Acts on feedback where appropriate
  • Reflects on performance and pinpoints areas that need improvement
  • Make sure that strengths are utilised as much as possible
  • Acknowledges criticism but doesn’t take it to heart


The ability to modify ones behaviour as appropriate to changing circumstances; can maintain effectiveness when faced by changing environments or demands.

  • Adjusts behaviour appropriately to meet the demands of the situation
  • Performs equally well in a variety of different environments
  • Anticipates the need to change behaviour
  • Reacts quickly when circumstances change
  • Learns new tasks quickly