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3 Steps to ensure your competency model is flexible and adaptable

(Question posted by participants in recent webinars)

Your competency model should always be in beta.  Competency models describe what someone in a particular role should be able to do to perform their part of corporate strategy.  If your strategy is changing regularly (and I believe that for your organization to continue to survive, it will), then your competency model has to change/adapt as well.  You need to communicate to the organization that your competency models will be changing over time.  Be sure that it doesn’t take an act of Congress for these changes to be made – it has to be part of the cultural understanding that models will adapt and are never “done”.

There are 3 steps to ensure you can adapt your competency model easily. 

1) When you make the model accessible and assessable, your competency assessment tool must support making these changes easily.  If it’s too difficult, it won’t happen, and then your competency model will be out of sync with strategy.

2) Add a feedback mechanism within your competency assessment tool (and communicate actively that you want feedback) so that you put it out there, you get feedback, and you continue to iterate the model and the behaviors to capture changes in tools, in technology, and in the environment in which you operate.  Have a defined process to do something with the feedback in a timely manner.

3) Have a rhythm for periodically re-examining the model for changes.  Maybe 2x/year, or after a transformation, merger or acquisition, or product launch.  Much like the process for creating the competency model, we recommend sending out the tasks and behavioral examples and targets in a Word document (track changes on) to 4 - 6 high performers, and a manager of people in that role.  Give them a few days to review and edit.  Consolidate edits and conduct a 1-2 hour virtual workshop to discuss and finalize updates.  Then make the updates within the competency assessment tool immediately.


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