How to Improve Organizational Performance with Technical Competencies
Welcome to the course. Over the next few weeks you will receive a series of four email lessons that will explain how technical competencies can improve organizational performance. The course is divided into four lessons:
Lesson One: What are Competencies?
Lesson Two: How Technical Competencies Improve Performance
Lesson Three: How to Develop Technical Competencies
Lesson Four: Planning Your Technical Competency Initiative
Lessons will be delivered to your inbox weekly.
This is a practical course. The advice we provide is the result of many years of experience working with a wide cross section of clients. In this course we aim to condense the important things we learned. There is a lot to learn about how to implement technical competencies; however, in this course, we have summed up the key steps required for success. At the completion of each lesson we provide a few reflective questions to help you focus on your specific goals. The course is an overview of sorts and will provide you with a good starting point that will help you decide if you want to go to the next step to use technical competencies in your organization.
Let’s get started with Lesson One.
Lesson One: What are Competencies?
It is important to start with a solid definition of the term competency. We have found that there are many different interpretations of the term. Here is a standard definition that will keep you on the right track as you get into the competency world.
Competencies are a combination of skills, knowledge and abilities.
A ‘competent’ person has the capability to apply a set of related knowledge, skills, and abilities required to successfully perform “critical work functions“ in a defined work setting.
Organizations use a variety of terms related to competency. Many organizations develop a combination of competencies. You may have heard the terms technical competencies, behavioural competencies, and leadership competencies. Here is a quick overview of each term:
Technical competencies describe the skills a person “must be able to do” to effectively perform in a specific job, role or function. Technical competencies describe distinct “units of work” performed by an individual. Technical competencies require the application of skills, knowledge and abilities. Technical competencies can be identified for specific jobs within one organization or across branches of an organization. Technical competencies are also developed at the industry or professional level to set performance standards for national certification and training programs.
Behavioural competencies are behaviour sets required of all employees in the organization regardless of their role or department. For example, behavioural competencies may include communication, teamwork and problem solving.
Leadership or managerial competency models describe the factors that lead to success for company leaders, senior staff, executives, and others who fill top management or leadership roles. Organizations often use leadership competency models for executive coaching and the creation of leadership development programs. The model typically describes 8-12 different competencies, focusing on areas like self-development, leadership, innovation, professional judgment, relationship development, and self-assurance.
We have just defined competency and explained the difference between core technical, behavioural and leadership competencies. In this course, we will focus on illustrating the benefits and applications of technical competency frameworks.
- Think about your understanding of the term competency. What comes to mind – technical, behavioural or leadership competencies?
- Why are you interested in technical competencies?
In Lesson Two we will explain the benefits of technical competencies. Look for Lesson Two in your inbox next week.