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Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting Caught up in Competencies

A client I’m working with to implement a performance management and development program for his production team leaders has been having trouble with the word “competency”.  It’s a big word with little meaning to most people, so why do I keep saying it?

I talked a few weeks ago about job modeling the “superstar” in order to develop performance standards for this client.   Basically, I’ve been calling the areas we have identified as critical to performance as “competencies”.

I have tried to stress that what I mean, at least, by “competency” instead of “task” or “job duty” is that a competency is not just simply what the worker does, but what defines excellent performance.  (More information on the distinction between competency modeling and job analysis as well as how to successfully develop competencies can be found in the article, Doing Competencies Well: Best Practices in Competency Modeling).   Competencies should be driven from organizational strategy and be linked to behaviors that distinguish average from excellent performance.

After all, I didn’t observe the worst performer or even the average performer to develop the model for this client.  I observed the one(s) that got results.  Many would say it should be more complicated that than that, and maybe if I described all the steps to develop a valid model, you may think it is.  But it’s not.  The bottom line is what contributes to your business bottom line is what you use.   Maybe I should start calling it a “bottom-line model” instead of a “competency model”.    Do you think this would make more sense to us all?

1 comment:

  1. Need help framing your thinking about competencies? Check out this model for Manufacturing here:

    Links to competency models for other industries can be found by clicking the links on the left-hand side of the page.