Skills and Competences for Intelligence Professionals Part 1: Definitions

What's the definition of competence?

Regardless of what you do, each and every job requires skills and competences. Without them, we would not be able to do our work well. Naturally, this also applies to people that work in market intelligence. A broad spectrum of different competences and skills are needed to be a professional.


Before answering what specific competences and skills are needed, it is good to have a look at the definitions. After searching several sources we found the following consensus:


“A competence is the ability of an individual to do a job properly. A competency is a set of defined behaviors that provide a structured guide enabling the identification, evaluation and development of the behaviors in individual employees.”

Competences vs. skills

Some scholars see “competence” as a combination of (applied) knowledge, skills, behavior, talent, attitude and experience – and I would also like to add intelligence.


A skill (as being part of a competence) is the learned ability to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimum outlay of time, energy, or both. In other words the abilities that one possesses. We are all familiar with labor skills (worker’s expertise), life skills (problem solving behaviors, personal affairs), people skills (building relationships of trust, respect and productive interactions) and the related social skills (interaction and communication with others).


So, let’s not mix up competences and skills.


by Joost Drieman


This series of five articles zooms in on the competences and skills needed for market intelligence. In order to get a common understanding of competences and skills, this first article offered a look at some terms and their definitions. In the next article we will discuss the three main competence categories for intelligence professionals:

  • the technical intelligence competencies
  • management and leadership competencies
  • relational and interaction competencies

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