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How do I create a few standard competencies that would address the needs of multiple business units?

(Question posted by participant in Accelerating Learning Transfer webinar)

The most important thing to remember about competency models is that for them to be effective, they must be relevant.  A competency model describes what each person in their role needs to be able to do, specifically, in order to perform their part of corporate strategy.  If they are too generic, they will no longer be effective.

That being said, there are some competencies that can probably be shared across roles and business units.  Examples include:  people management, personal development, project management, and communication.  As we defined the competency models for individual roles, we’ve found that sometimes we need to customize the behavioral examples, while the competencies and tasks remain the same. 

When the roles you are defining are similar across business units, (e.g., sales, engineers, finance, risk analysts), you will likely find many competencies that may be shared.  We’ve found this to be the case with our customers.  When this happens, there are 2 ways you can choose to build the model.  You could include people across business units in the workshops where you create the competency models.  Or you could create the model with one business unit, and then validate it with the other business units, providing them with the opportunity to customize the tasks and/or behavioral examples.  We’ve done it both ways.  If time is of the essence, the build and validate approach may be faster and easier.  If the company culture has business units at odds, then being more inclusive at the front end is the way to go.



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