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When would you use custom vs. standard competency models?

Let me start by saying that even if you use a standard competency model (or capability model), you may choose to customize it, though you can do this over time.  We strongly recommend including a feedback link in your competency assessment tool that makes it easy for people using them to make suggestions.

In our experience, using a standard competency model is the way to go when you have a role that is fairly consistent across organizations.  For example:  information technology roles, healthcare roles, retail roles, banking roles, general corporate roles (accounting, supply chain, legal, etc.).  This is because while these functions have nuances and best practices related to an organization, they tend to be fairly consistent.  Think about the role of an Accounts Payable Specialist. The skills and tasks are probably roughly the same from company to company. 

But when you have a role that is pretty unique to your organization, or the nature of how your organization executes a function is what drives your competitive advantage, a standard model may not suffice.  Take a Supply Chain Specialist at a company like Zappos or Amazon.  Their supply chain differentiates them, and therefore, a custom model that is designed around those differences makes more sense to capture and communicate the roadmap to greatness for people in those roles.  

Some specific groups I’ll point out are Sales, Marketing, and Professional Services.  For some organizations, a standard model may work well for people in these roles.  In other cases, there are so many unique behavioral examples of how something is done at your organization, that it is more efficient to build a custom model than it is to customize a standard model.

Click here for more information about 3 ways to get a competency model.


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