Posts tagged Agile
How do I ensure a results-oriented competency model?
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Build the model correctly

A competency model defines what each person in their role needs to be able to do, specifically, in order to perform their part of corporate strategy. If your competency model does that, without extraneous detail, then your competency model will be results-oriented, in fact, tied directly to corporate objectives and needs.

Follow the steps documented here to build a role-based competency model correctly.  


At a high level, the competency model tasks describe what someone must do.

The behavioral examples describe how someone must do the task.


Include skills of the future

With the pace of change and speed of business, including the incorporation of digitization and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives, to be truly results-oriented, you need to be looking ahead. What tasks and skills will someone need not just to do their job today, but to make the people, and therefore the organization, competitive tomorrow? These are things like learning agility, critical thinking, data analysis, and influencing.


Reflect the organization’s business values

Created models should also reflect business values. The tasks and skills in the model define what that individual needs to do to be successful. If your organization values customer focus above all else, then it is likely that every job in the company will have some skill in their model that reflects internal or customer focus.

 These values might also be reflected in the behavioral examples of many tasks. That is, even a technical task such as “Create software functional specifications” might have examples that describe how to apply customer focus, for example, “Engage cross-functional stakeholders to ensure their needs are being met by the specifications.”

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How do we make competency model development less scary?
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Make competency model creation agile

By applying an agile methodology to competency model development, you make it less scary. If the competency modeling process takes 6 month or 1 year, with the speed of change, the competency model output could be outdated before you even release it. Plus, you’ll have wasted months when you could be using it.

Here’s a synopsis of our streamlined competency model development approach.


Step 1: Perform the Rapid Job Analysis Workshop

We start with a one day workshop (in person or virtual) with 4 - 6 high performers in a particular role. This is a brainstorming process. Together we identify those skills and tasks high performers do that are important and critical to success. This step provides us with input for the remaining steps in the process.


Step 2: Draft competency model behaviors

Next, for each task, we create draft task/behavioral examples, provide them to the high performers for review/editing (about 2 hours of pre-work), and conduct a virtual workshop (3 hours) to consolidate edits.

These examples provide each person in that role with a road map for how to be great and what "great" looks like. Each example identifies the behaviors that would be exhibited by someone performing that skill or task at various proficiency levels.

The task is the “what”, and the examples are the “how”.

 The examples communicate and iterate best practices. And they ensure consistent and objective assessment and self-awareness can occur. It is through self-awareness that a person becomes intrinsically motivated to change.

Step 3: Define the target proficiency

We define the minimum proficiency required, that is the target proficiency level, for each skill or task. This is usually performed independently of the high performers, though you may get their validation through a one hour meeting.


Total stakeholder time required for competency model development: Approximately 9-11 hrs

Total duration of competency model creation process: Approximately 3 weeks

Can you see how that feels less scary, and really achievable to stakeholders?


To learn more visit: and

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
Can we get too detailed in a competency model?

(Question posted by participants in recent webinars)

Of course.  It's easy to get too detailed in a competency model.  If you look at a list of soft skills, I’m sure they would apply to almost every job (written communication, problem solving, teamwork, etc.).  A competency model is what best defines success in this role.  That’s why with a standard competency model, you might start with 40 or 50 skills and you select 20 that are appropriate for this role in your organization. 

Remember that the competency model needs to be actionable.  If you have 50 skills in a model and I have 10 skill gaps, where do I focus?  Narrowing to those tasks/skills that are most critical to success ensures that you can help people focus on where it will make the biggest impact on the organization’s strategy and objectives.

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