Posts tagged Behavioral Examples
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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GASP! I just created learning that doesn’t transfer and they can’t get up!

If you create learning that doesn’t transfer, then you too will keep your target audience from “getting up” in skills and business results. By that I mean, no addressing skill gaps, and no improving results.

Why employee disengagement occurs

In a Deloitte study[1], less than 25% of Line Managers believed their Learning & Development (L&D) departments were critical to achieving their business goals. That is not surprising given related findings on learner disengagement. It is cause and effect.

If the employee doesn’t believe that the content is relevant to their job and their needs, they will be disengaged in any learning.

--> If the employee is disengaged in the learning process, then L&D efforts are mitigated – any learning opportunities will have minimal effect.

--> If minimal effect occurs, then skill levels do not improve.

--> If there are no skill level improvements, then business results do not improve.

--> If employees participate in training programs, and positive business results do not follow, then Line Managers are likely to lose faith in the ability of L&D to contribute.

Why does this happen?  It’s a likely scenario when you don’t know what skills people need. You can know you have a skill gap crisis, but if you don’t know what job skills they need, how can you possibly help them develop the right skills?  How can you create content that is relevant to their job?

Even if you know what skills they need, but you can’t measure skill gaps (you don’t actually know where skill gaps exist and have no supporting data), then how can you measure whether skills and business results improve?  That is, how can you measure that the programs you’re providing are closing skills gaps and driving results?

Resolving learner disengagement step 1: Create competency models

First, you create a role-based competency model, which defines the skills required to execute their part of corporate strategy.  In other words, the competency modeling connects skills and strategy.  A competency model describes what it looks like to be great in that role.

Step 2: Create competency-based learning

Next, you develop competency-based learning to increase the likelihood that each person CAN accomplish their goals.  This is where the learning objectives of activities are tied to the specific competency model skills and behaviors. 

Creating competency-based learning ensures the content is relevant to their job.  But remember that if the employee doesn’t believe that the content is relevant to their job AND relevant to their needs, they will be disengaged.  We’ve solved the first problem, now we have to solve the second.

Step 3: Provide competency assessment tools

In order to make content relevant to each person’s needs, you need to enable them to perform a competency assessment in order to identify their specific skill gaps.  And you need to automate the identification of content relevant to their needs, known as personalized learning. 

If you develop competency-based learning and enable personalized learning, you will drive learner engagement and accelerate learning transfer.  And if you’ve got a good competency model, then it will positively impact skills and business results.

What’s more, the aggregated skills data combined with business results over time will let you measure the impact of learning.


If you ensure that you only create competency-based learning for a role, you will never again create learning that doesn’t transfer.  If you use a competency assessment tool that personalizes learning for each person, you will maximize learner engagement, accelerate learning transfer, and you WILL be able to measure the positive impact on skills and business results.

[1] Bersin by Deloitte. (2015).  Reimagining L&D Capabilities to Drive Continuous Learning.

Also found on LinkedIn.



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Is “Competency Model” a dirty word?

(OK, actually 2 words, but you get my point)

I had a meeting with someone yesterday who told me that in their company, the phrase “competency model” is not to be spoken.  That’s not actually that unusual.  In many parts of the world, such as the UK and Australia, “capability model” is the more common term.  But let’s go back to why it’s taboo to use it.

Common competency model thoughts on why they’re not good

  • “It’s full of gobbly gook”

  • “No one can understand it”

  • “We spend all this time working on it, and don’t do anything with it”

If that’s been historically true in your organization, then it’s easy to see why they may consider “competency model” a dirty word. 

Here’s how to fix it.

1) Stop calling it a “competency model”

Stop using the dirty word.  If it already has a bad connotation, don’t try to change perception… just call it something else, such as “capability model” or “capability framework”.

2) Fix competency model content

Fix the problem with the competency model content.  It should not be full of big corporate words that don’t really say anything.  It should be in the language of the person using it.  If you create or customize one, use that role’s high performers in those sessions.  If you use a standard model, work with some high performers to “put it in their language” so that it is easy to consume… both in the capabilities/skills/tasks and the behavioral examples. So a Sales competency model would read like someone in Sales would speak, and a retail competency model would read like someone in Retail would speak. It must also be relevant to both current skills and skills of the future.

3) Make the competency model actionable

A capability model on a web page, PowerPoint, PDF or poster will never be used and will quickly reinforce the current perception. So you must make the competency model actionable.  If you create a song and dance around a “capability model” that isn’t easily accessible by those during the development process, and isn’t assessable such that one can measure their capabilities against it to identify and close gaps with competency-based learning, it’s worthless. If skill gaps are your organization’s biggest challenge (and where are they not?), then if your competency model positioning is as a tool for upskilling and reskilling to address the needs of digitization and AI, you’ll gain acceptance and adoption.

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