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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Competency Mapping

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Competency Mapping

Primary Objectives
  • Create a culture that inspires and empowers every individual to contribute his best in building business and organization through self development.
  • Review current work performance and plan for the future improvements.
  • Provide an opportunity for post-appraisal discussions and guidance to promote self development.
  • Provide an objective basis to recognize and reward meritorious and outstanding performance.
  • Provide an objective basis to identify substandard performance and reasons for it.
  • Meet the need of each person to know how well he is performing.
  • Support coaching, mentoring, training and development activities.
  • Support internal mobility like growth paths, transfers, job rotation etc.
  • Chalk out career plan and career growth as suited to each individual's existing and potential strength profile.
  • Provide a basis for recruitment and selection of persons from external or internal candidates by identifying the best qualified person for a particular job or position.
Definitions of Some Related Terms That Often Confuse Many

The terms given below are alphabetically arranged.

Ability: An individual's capability either developed or not developed (undiscovered, unrealized and untapped). An accountant may be able to sell but has not done so.

Attitude: An individual's tendency to act in predictable ways. A manager may have humanistic attitude and therefore, he may be compassionate towards people.

Behavior: What an individual performs or does is his behavior and that is observable. It is based on his thinking which is not observable.

Competency: It is the developed ability of an individual. One competency may be a good integration of several allied skills related to the competency. Conducting an effective meeting is a competency that calls for many allied skills like making a meeting agenda, promoting healthy group process, resolving conflicts, managing time etc. Competencies are observable and ratable/measurable.

Knowledge: What an individual knows and comprehends is knowledge. Knowledge may be obtained from formal education, observations, training and experience.

Management: It consists of planning, organizing, staffing, directing (also leading) and controlling.

Potential: It is the predicted future performance of an individual.

Performance: Actual work output/results given by an individual against the expected results or goals/objectives is his performance. It is normally the basis for appraisals and rewards.

Practice: An individual acting as per his or organizational strategies and policies is putting the policies into practice.

Skill: It is the work behavior. In a sense, every verb in a dictionary is a skill. It is micro competency. Allied skills make a competency. In earlier example of conducting meeting, listening is another skill that is essential for conducting effective meetings. Skills are observable and ratable/measurable.

Style: Patterns of behavior is style. A person with humanistic values will have particular sets of behavior towards people and that defines his style.

Traits: They are personal characteristics. For example, an individual can be harsh, arrogant, aggressive or some other person may be polite, just, assertive etc. Many a time, they may not be observable or ratable/measurable.

Why Competencies in an Organization?

In order to carry out an organization's business in a superior manner, it needs to identify the competencies it's managers and all other employees should possess, further improve and practice to improve their job performance towards achieving it's goals.

Competency is Not a Task Statement
  • Competency is a combination of an underlying capability, a characteristic or an ability with knowledge and skills that results in an effective performance. If competencies are improved, they will give still more effective or superior performance.
  • Competencies are knowledge and skills statements and not task statements. For example: conducting the meetings is a task. In order to do so, one needs required competency. Therefore, in this case the required competency is the combination of skills to make an agenda, to promote a healthy group process, to resolve conflicts, to manage time etc.
Developing Competency Matrix (inclusive of developing inventory of competencies)

1. An organization should develop an inventory of all the competencies it will need from it's people in order to run it's business effectively and efficiently as per it's vision, mission, objectives and strategies.

2. These identified competencies then should be classified and grouped together accordingly. The following classifications can be made:
  • Behavioral or soft competencies (these competencies relate to self-awareness and interpersonal competencies of an individual at his individual level): For example: initiative and drive, motivation, leadership, team work.
  • Managerial competencies (these are organizational, people-related, and role-related): For example these competencies could be decision making, communication, delegation, disciplining.
  • Technical competencies/hard competencies (some people call them functional competencies): For example: a supervisor in an automobile factory supervising the operations of numerically controlled (NC) machines should have in-depth knowledge of working of NC machines, an HR specialist should have expertise in various types of performance appraisal systems, a programmer should have a good grasp in writing programs in the specific computer languages as needed by the IT organization employing him.
Some more examples of the competencies under these classifications are given later in this write-up.

There could be other alternate ways for classifying competencies as given below:
  • Competencies for individual excellence or for managing self.
  • Competencies for interpersonal relations.
  • Managerial competencies which can be further classified as: 1. Organizational. 2. Role related and 3. People related.
  • Functional or technical competencies.
  • Information related competencies.
You may like to refer for a comprehensive inventory of soft competencies: (Soft Skills) and/or (Life Skills)

3. Each competency, in turn, will have it's levels of proficiencies. These should be identified.

4. Clear explanations of each level of each competency should be written down. These levels are given different labels by different organizations as per their needs. Some examples are given below:
  • In one organization, these proficiency levels for each competency are graded as: oh-oh, so-so, good and great.
  • In other organization, they are termed as: baseline, collaborative productivity, ownership, managing complexity and expert.
  • In another organization, they simply put them as: level 1, level 2, level 3 and level 4.
Irrespective of what labels or names these levels are given, basically the levels mean: beginner level, learner level, skilled level, expert or master-skill level.
5. Finally for each job or each position which competencies of which proficiency level are required should be determined. This is called developing a "competency matrix".

Competency Mapping

Having created competency matrix for every job/position, the job incumbent's current competencies are evaluated against the desired competencies and their level of proficiency. This is mapping the competencies of a job holder against the desired competency matrix for that job. The gaps in desired and actual competencies are identified. This entire process can be done collaboratively by the job holder himself and his superior(s).

Post Competency Matrix/Mapping

Once the gaps in competencies and proficiency levels are known, the gap analysis is carried out. The analysis focuses on the further development of the job holder rather than trying to pin him down for his lacunae in competencies. Therefore, the reasons for the gaps are found out objectively and further course of action to remove these gaps is decided and implemented.
Answers to where to improve and how to improve are worked out:
  • Competencies the job holder need to improve.
  • What job holder will do to to improve them?
  • What the job holder's superior(s), HR department and the organization will do to improve them?
Excellence in Competencies/Skills

You will be able to achieve the excellence in any skill or competency only if you rehearse or practice the learned skill a large number of times. Knowledge alone is no guarantee for achieving great levels in skills or competencies.

Only if you start swimming, you will become a swimmer; mere knowledge of swimming or great theories of swimming will not automatically make you even an ordinary swimmer. Knowledge surely helps and is a must but without doing, it is of no use to you. If you wish to become a good teacher, start teaching the subject you know well. If you want to become an actor, start acting. Seek roles in movies or dramas or TV shows and keep refining your acting by doing it and also applying your knowledge in doing it better. If your desire is to become an author, start writing. Write something every day. And use your knowledge to write even better. Doing is what makes you what you wish to become, knowledge alone does not.

Implementation of knowledge is the name of the game. Wisdom is in knowing what to do and how to do but the virtue is doing it.

Great Knowledge + Zero Implementation = No effectiveness, No results, No success.
Some Knowledge + Some implementation = Some Effectiveness, Some Results, Some Success.
Great Knowledge + Great Implementation = Great Effectiveness, Great Results, Great Success.

There are 4 levels of competencies or skills (also refer points 3 and 4 of the paragraph titled "Inventory of Competencies and developing Competency Matrix" above):

1. Unconsciously incompetent: Ignorance (example: you are not even aware that there are some proper styles of swimming).

2. Consciously incompetent: Acceptance of incompetence and creating a desire to learn (example: you accept that you do not swim properly and you will like to learn the correct styles of swimming).

3. Consciously competent: Gaining the knowledge about the skill to be mastered and begin practicing the knowledge gained (example: gaining knowledge on how to swim using proper styles of swimming and start swimming using the right styles of swimming).

4. Unconsciously competent: Keep practicing the knowledge gained till you gain mastery in the skill (example: you have now become an expert swimmer since you have been swimming using the proper styles of swimming over number of hours and you can now give yourself 9 on 10 or even 10 on 10).

For greater success in life, you should try to reach the unconsciously competent level in the skills required by you for your professional, personal, family and social activities/tasks/projects.

Additional Examples of Behavioral and Functional Competencies

As mentioned earlier, we give below some more examples:

Some More Examples of Behavioral and Managerial Competencies

Individual:· Self Development
· Self Confidence
· Intellectual Strength
Results:· Strategic Decision Making
· Focus on Results
Team Work: Team Building
· Open Communication Skills
Passion for Products and Technology: Passion and Drive for Technology

Some More Examples of Functional Competencies

· Ability to set accounting policies
· Ability to perform financial analysis
· Ability to select, evaluate and monitor vendor performance
· Ability to use CAD/CAM tools
· Ability to perform manufacturing capacity planning
· Ability to assimilate new technologies, methods, architectures and techniques related to production
· Ability to use Microsoft Word Software
· Ability to use JIT (just-in-time) principles and practices
· Competency in recruiting the people

Soft Skills and Hard Skills

You will need to sharpen your soft skills as well as your hard skills in order to become effective, efficient and successful in your life and your professions.

Hard skills are to do with the technical skills and soft skills are the behavioral skills. Both types of skills are required for carrying our your professional activities effectively and efficiently. They are also required to be successful in your personal, family and social life.

You should first identify as to which soft skills and hard skills you need to develop. Each person may have his or her unique requirements. Once having identified them, you will need to feel motivated about developing those skills. We have emphasized earlier that there is no short-cut to master the skills. You will have to acquire the right kind of knowledge about those skills and then keep on practicing.

Then, you are there to win the world.

Soft Skills

Earlier, we have emphasized the importance of acquiring and mastering both types of skills- the hard skills and the soft skills. Hard skills are important and you should never undermine them. They are your bread and butter skills. For example, a tourist guide has to know the technical aspects of his job like showing his tourists the right places in a proper sequence with authentic commentary on them, the legalities of his job, the safety aspect of his tourists etc, yet, he will be more in demand and earn more if he also has the necessary soft skills for the job like manners and etiquette, interpersonal relations with tourists, humor, creativity etc.

Hard skills are more rational types and soft skills improve your emotional intelligence. Soft skills make you more cultured, empathic, understanding, caring and also, more sophisticated and reformed.

You must try to find out what soft skills you should choose to acquire and develop for success in your personal, professional, family and social life.

We are giving below a fairly comprehensive list of soft skills for your guidance. To know the details on each one of the competencies given below, you can refer to the respective web links (URLs) given below later in the paragraph titled "Other Topics of Interest".

  1. Observation.
  2. Know yourself (introspection).
  3. Openness and flexibility (paradigm shifting).
  4. Internal motivation and passion.
  5. Action orientation, drive and self initiation.
  6. Self development.
  7. Self confidence.
  8. Assertiveness.
  9. Integrity.
  10. Trustworthiness.
  11. Composure and self presentation (appearance, manners and etiquette).
  12. Intellectual horsepower and learning.
  13. Creativity and innovation.
  14. Conviction.
  15. Moral courage.
  16. Dependability and reliability.
  17. Dealing with ambiguity.
  18. Time management.
  19. Goal setting and result orientation.
  20. Decision making.
  21. Problem solving and process orientation.
  22. Organizing.
  23. Coordinating.
  24. Delegation.
  25. Communication (speaking, listening, empathy, body language, writing).
  26. Interpersonal skills.
  27. Negotiation.
  28. Conflict management.
  29. Presentation.
  30. Convincing.
  31. Coaching and developing people.
  32. Counseling.
  33. Mentoring.
  34. Team work.
  35. Team building.
  36. Consensus building.
  37. Conducting meetings.
  38. Leading.
  39. Big picture thinking and strategic thinking.
  40. Motivating others.
  41. Controlling.
  42. Safety.
  43. Stress management.

Go through the above list very carefully and tick out the soft skills where you need to pull up yourself. Then, you have to go through the cycle of gaining authentic knowledge of that skill, understanding the process (the standard operating procedure- the SOP) of building that skill, practicing that skill following the process (SOP), practicing it, practicing it and practicing it till you get the mastery over that skill, till that skills gets internalized in you; it becomes your habit.

How Much Value My Competency Can Add?

The More the Value Addition Due to Your Competencies, the More You Can Earn

The money you can earn as a professional by using your competency depends squarely on the value it can add. Extent of value derived by the usage of your competency is decided by the user or the customer. If the perception of the customer allows your competency to be seen as a high value adding competency, you can claim more money for providing that competency to your customer and more often than not, the customer will pay you that much. On the other hand even if you reach the highest level of expertise in a particular competency, it is not necessary that you will end up earning more particularly when the customers does not see it delivering high value to him.

It is also a matter of supply and demand. The much needed rare competencies may get paid more since at that point of time they are seen to be delivering high value to its customers in their perception.

An example will illustrate the point brought out in this paragraph. You will generally see that a specialist doctor say, a surgeon will end up earning lots more that the best or most proficient waiter in a restaurant. Yet a chief chef in the same restaurant, if he is worth his salt (as far as proficiency or expertise in cooking is concerned) may also end up earning as much as the doctor or an engineer.

So, it seems that high value adding competencies alone can earn more money for you.

Overdoing a Competency
  • While having highest level of proficiency in a competency is always desirable, overdoing it can prove to be counterproductive. Excess of anything is bad. Mastery over skills is OK but obsession with it and therefore, overdoing it can mean difficulties.
  • Whether it is a hard skill or a soft skill, too much indulgence in it or overdoing that competency can prove to be harmful to self and others, particularly your associates.
  • An example: An over organized person or a person who is really great in planning things can be a very competent person till he starts overdoing it. The moment he starts overdoing it, he may lose sight of other things. He may become too rigid and structured and less tolerant to continuous and quick changes or unavoidable chaotic situations many times prevalent in real life situations. He may also be pretty divorced with the human element; he may not be comfortable associating with people who are otherwise good and efficient but little less organized in his opinion. With this lopsided weight on planning and organizing he loses his overall balance and becomes overall less competent.
For more examples, refer: (Competencies- Life Management), (Competency Matrix)

For More Guidance, Assistance, Training and Consultation


Training on "Competency Matrix/Competency Mapping" is imparted by Prodcons Group's Mr Shyam Bhatawdekar and/or Dr (Mrs) Kalpana Bhatawdekar, the renowned management educationists and consultants and trainers- par excellence with distinction of having trained over 150,000 people from around 250 organizations. Implementation of "Competency Matrix/Competency Mapping" is also facilitated by the team of Prodcons Group.

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