Deakin Capability Framework


What is a capability framework?

Our capability framework describes the behaviours, skills, knowledge, abilities and attributes required for successful performance, while promoting development for the future. It provides a shared common language that can be used in DeakinAchieve conversations.

Why do we need one?

Deakin’s capability framework defines essential, future focused capabilities that will ensure we continue to thrive and achieve as a University. These capabilities will ensure that Deakin continues to deliver positive results, innovation and outstanding contribution to the communities we serve.

Where can I use it?

  • Identify required capabilities in your position, across your team and within your function
  • Clarify expectations and enable performance, development and career planning
  • As a framework to guide organisational, structural and role design

The twenty capabilities are clustered into four sections; Imagine, Improve, Inspire and Influence. You can read about the capabilities in detail or download a print version of the framework. 

  1. Read through the descriptors for each of the capabilities 
  2. Identify up to six key capabilities that are essential for the role.
  3. Once you have determined up to six capabilities, think about the level of expertise required for each capability.
    There are four levels: Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced and Expert. Click on ‘levels’ under each capability to be directed to the expertise descriptor
  4. You now have a set of capabilities and the required expertise.

If the capabilities you’ve identified are for your role/your team member’s role then reflect on what level of expertise you/your team member is currently at and use the learning guide to map out a development plan.

If the capabilities you’ve identified are for a new role, you can use this to guide the development of the position description/job ad and interview questions.

Guiding Principles


Research Based
Research based

The Deakin capability framework is underpinned and aligned to extensive research into contemporary HR practice and future of work. 

There is a clear emphasis on thinking and people related capabilities. The framework supports outcomes through self; outcomes through others; outcomes for the University and outcomes for the community or industry.


Values Driven
Values driven

Deakin’s values of sustainable, inclusive, ethical and excellent are integrated into the behavioural descriptors to ensure alignment to the Universities strategic goals.

The purpose is to enable growth and achievement.


Fit for purpose
Fit for purpose

Each capability describes observable behaviour, articulating what success looks like across four development levels: foundation, intermediate, advanced and expert.

The Deakin capabilities work seamlessly with other models for development including professional skills.



Thinking focusPeople focus
•Focus on strategy and relevance
•Interest in possibilities in ideas
•Interest in theoretical concepts
•Ethic and principles
•Focus on systems thinking
•Analysis of what the results mean
•Action orientation
•Focus on facts as they relate to ideas
•Strive for efficiency
•Being interested in how things will get done
•Concern about how much it will cost
•Desire for a practical result
•Desire to do it right the first time
•Focus on improvement
•Focus on possibilities in people
•Strive for empowerment
•Interest in ideals and values
•Focus on growth and development
•Desire for inclusion with others
•Courage to lead
•Enthusiasm for contribution
•Focus on facts as they relate to people
•Commitment to a positive service culture
•Engage with others to achieve
•Aware of impact on others
•Effective partnerships and networks
•Appreciation for others
•Promote wellbeing

What are Deakin’s capabilities?

To read more about individual capabilities, see below:

Shaping Strategic Direction Navigating Complexity Creating and Innovating Learning Agility Environmental Scanning
Thinks strategically to achieve organisational goals; sets and develops well considered strategies Proactively and quickly making sense of complex issues; responding effectively to difficult and ambiguous situations Explores concepts and insights, generates new ideas and a range of innovative solutions Learns from experiences; applies learnings to perform successfully in new situations Seeks emerging trends; identifies issues within field of expertise and University context
Levels Levels Levels Levels Levels

Planning and Organising Analysis and Problem Solving University Operations Digital Literacy Continuous Improvement
Plans, analyses and co-ordinates the delivery of projects while balancing priorities and resources Sources relevant information; identifies problems and offers sustainable practical solutions Plans, budgets, and utilises resources to effectively achieve organisational goals Interprets and distils information; produces clear communications through a variety of digital platforms Proactively improves the efficiency and quality of existing materials processes and systems
Levels Levels Levels Levels Levels

Inspiring Results Leading Change Leading Teams Collaboration Emotional Intelligence
Translates strategic priorities into operational reality; inspires outcomes through others Creates needed organisational and cultural changes; aligns with Deakin’s strategic direction Uses appropriate methods to support, develop, motivate, and guide the team to achieve successful outcomes Proactively supports working together, shares ideas and provides constructive feedback; respects and values others Recognises emotions in self and others; uses emotional cues to guide thinking and behaviour
Levels Levels Levels Levels Levels

Service Culture Building Networks and Partnerships Consulting and Advice Communicating with Influence Personal Resilience
Considers others perspectives in making decisions and providing advice; strives to exceed expectations Identifies and invests in relationships essential for growth and positive outcomes Provides expert and valued advice; supports achievement of outcomes for stakeholders Engages and energises others through clear and persuasive communication Maintains composure and focus under pressure, adapts to changing situations and recovers from setbacks
Levels Levels Levels Levels Levels


Download a print version Download learning guide


For queries regarding the Capability Framework, please email:

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