Two employees seated in a booth having a discussion at a cafe


9 Core Competencies

Download PDF


9 Core Competencies_V2 [Hand Drawn]-03-1

The 9 Core Competencies are the clear, essential, time-tested, and effective skills and disciplines a business must master to become a great company.

We use these skills and disciplines to guide our decision-making on our way to achieving our greatest goals. If you’re new to Ninety, take our Baseline Assessment to check your team’s or organization’s proficiency in the 9 Core Competencies.

Mastering these concepts takes time. Our goal is to simplify this process and offer the insights we’ve gained from decades of company building and coaching. Our experience has shown us that increasing proficiency with the 9 Core Competencies enhances our ability to create a focused, aligned, and thriving organization.


Here's a brief overview of each of the 9 Core Competencies.

  1. Vision includes the many facets of an organization’s definition of itself and the expression of its highest aims. A compelling Vision defines the company’s identity, purpose, and direction — its who, why, what, and where. Learn more in our Vision Brief.

  2. Customer reflects a company’s ability to identify and market to its Ideal Customers and serve them consistently at the highest level. An organization’s Unique Value Proposition must resonate deeply with its Ideal Customer. Learn more in our Ideal Customers Brief.
  3. Goals looks at an organization’s ability to establish, track, and achieve its compelling set of long-term (10-year), medium-term (2–5-year), and short-term (1-year, 90-day) objectives. Learn more about setting long-term goals in our Compelling and Audacious Goals Brief.
  4. Structure measures how well you identify the Core Functions of your organization and employ competent, committed people with the necessary mental, physical, emotional, and time capacities for their Seats. Learn more in our Right Person, Right Seat and Org Chart Briefs.
  5. People reflects the quality and coherence of a company’s organizational values, norms, and atmosphere. One of the top priorities for strengthening this competency is trust. High-trust relationships align individuals and teams, allowing organizations to thrive. Learn more in our Core Values and Culture Briefs.
  6. Data measures how well a company collects, analyzes, and leverages quality information to accomplish its organizational objectives. Companies that use data to analyze past decisions, inform current priorities, and predict future performance have made data their superpower. Learn more in our Brief and On Data Guide.

  7. Meetings are a defining feature of any organization. The right meeting cadence and agenda make the best use of a team’s time — enhancing team health, creating accountability, turning expectations into agreements, and resolving pressing Issues. Learn more in our Meetings Guides and Briefs.

  8. Process measures an organization’s ability to identify, document, and follow processes that define how we do business. Processes have the power to bring alignment to Seats, teams, and entire organizations. Learn more in our Process Brief and Guide.
  9. Enterprise Value is the calculation of a company’s monetary worth based on the total value of its equity and debt minus cash on hand. How an organization creates value must be clearly understood and supported by its people, goals, and processes. A great organization is clear on how it creates value for itself and all its stakeholders. Learn more in our Enterprise Value Brief.

Employees using the Ninety app in a cafe or coworking setting.

Core Disciplines of the 9 Core Competencies

  1. Assess your team, department, or company quarterly. After joining Ninety and establishing your baseline proficiencies, take our Org Fitness Review as part of your Quarterly and Annual Planning Meeting cadence.
  2. Work toward mastery. The Mastery tool is the in-app connection to the 90u Library and all its company-building resources. Every 90 days or so, measure your competencies as you engage, learn, and grasp them.
  3. Competency leads to growth. A business progresses through the Stages of Development by mastering the 9 Core Competencies. These are the time-tested fundamentals associated with building and operating a great company.

Hopefully Helpful Hints

  • The 9 Core Competencies are linked together.

    Your Vision encapsulates your Goals just as your People thrive due to your Structure and Meetings practices. Data can drive your Enterprise Value, and your Processes can help retain Ideal Customers. While focusing on all 9 Core Competencies may be too big of a challenge this quarter, bolstering your mastery in one will help with the others in the long run.

  • These skills and disciplines go beyond the Senior Leadership Team.

    At Ninety, we believe that all our team members highly benefit if they:

      • Share in our Compelling and Audacious Goals
      • Understand how we make the world a better place
      • Believe in our Purpose/Passion/Just Cause
      • Embody our Core Values
      • Own goals that benefit the whole organization
      • Are Ideal Team Members (Right Person, Right Seat)
      • Contribute to a positive culture


The 9 Core Competencies are the essential skills and disciplines an organization must master to progress through the Stages of Development. Each Core Competency is time-tested, essential, and effective in guiding a business toward becoming a great company.

What’s next? Visit the 90u Library or try Ninety today.

Let's get started

Use Ninety for 30 days. No credit card required.

Try For Free Get a Demo →