Competencies: What’s the Question You are Asking?

How do you determine the desired competencies for your leaders (or any other role for that matter)?
Are you picking from a list or collection made up by someone else? That’s OK, but you might be missing out on an opportunity to make competencies meaningful and practiced.

Are you asking these questions:
• “What competencies are required for success in a leadership role?”  
Asking this question often takes you down a path of researching leadership in general, to be sure that you consider all the possible and desirable competencies expected of most leaders.

• “What competencies do the leaders in our company possess?”
Asking this question begs some sort of assessment to identify just where your leaders excel and where development or hiring is needed to leverage your talent.

• “What competencies do our leaders need to demonstrate to meet our strategic goals?”
Asking this question gets into a more specific discussion about competencies required for business success. We like to ask this question FIRST, and listen to answers spoken in the leaders’ own language. “Is open to working with others to explore new ideas” says a lot more than simply picking “collaborative” from a list. With some facilitation, leaders do a good job initiating the critical competencies in behavioral terms.

Once a group of selected leaders (those who have keen perceptions of the future) speak in their language about leadership competencies for success, then the research into other potential competencies or classifications is useful. And not until everyone has wrapped their heads around what they really mean by “competencies for success” do we develop and execute an assessment.

Trust us. We know that companies differ widely in how they decide to select, assess, and develop competencies. We leave you with three simple guidelines:

•    Engage those who are expected to possess the competencies in the discussion.
•    Speak the language of your own culture and environment.
•    Use competency models and collections for reference and validation.

If you’d like to explore this approach further or have any questions about competencies, please contact us.