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By The Numbers

Workplace Survey, Findings

1.Workers are struggling to work effectively. 

When focus is compromised in pursuit of Collaboration, neither works well.

2. Effective workplaces balance focus and collaboration. 

Workplaces designed to enable collaboration without sacrificing employees’ ability to focus are more successful.

3. Choice drives performance and innovation. 

Employers who provide a spectrum of choices for when and where to work are seen as more innovative and have higher-performing employees.


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A competency-based development program provides the framework for aligning employees’ job performance with the organization’s goals. Essentially, goals –both for individual employees and the organization- became the key to individual an organizational success.

A competency program is designed to help employees understand what they need to know and to communicate clear job expectations. They're also intended to provide a framework for performance assessment, management, and improvement. Many competency programs struggle to stay on track. They start with the best of intentions but veer off course as they evolve. Organizations begin with a few strong "core competencies" that soon devolve into a list of vaguely defined items that can't be measured.



According to a Gallup’s research an effective competency program must include four things -- and do them well: 1) define the right competencies; 2) focus on what is teachable; 3) weight "will do" more heavily than "can do"; and 4) ensure consistency. But there's one more thing: The organizations that build the best competency programs do those four things in the right way.


1.Define the right competencies. If an organization has a hunch that setting clear expectations should be a core competency for managers, for example, then the organization should determine if meeting this competency actually delivers improved performance. One way to do this is by surveying as many employees as possible and asking if their manager sets clear expectations. Then the organization should compare the survey data with real performance metrics such as customer engagement, retention, or productivity numbers.


If the organization finds a significant correlation between managers who set clear expectations and higher performance on the job, it should consider "setting clear expectations" an effective competency. If no significant relationship exists between the competency and performance metrics, however, then the organization should not use the competency.


2.Focus on what is teachable. Performance management and employee development work best in environments where managers set measurable outcomes and let their employees' talents lead the way. To produce the best results, a competency-based development program should begin by identifying each person's talents (a natural way of thinking, feeling, or behaving).


When a competency program focuses on behaviours rather than outcomes, it forces employees to spend time in some areas where they have little or no natural talent. But effective competency programs set measurable outcomes and expect and encourage employees to reach them using their natural talents, teaching them knowledge and skills and encouraging them to practice along the way


3.Weight "will do" more heavily than "can do." In competency programs that prescribe how employees should behave, it's rare to find an activity listed that someone cannot do. Most reasonable people can find it within themselves to "work collaboratively," "think strategically," or  "lead with humility." But will the person do it?


That question can be answered reliably only when the individual's talents -- his or her naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, and behaviour -- have been assessed. The fact that someone can do something is no indication of how often, how well, or how willingly he or she will do it.


4.Ensure consistency. Most programs focus on dictating behaviours thought to produce the desired outcomes rather than focusing on the outcomes themselves. Most managers would agree that their best employees reach comparable outcomes using vastly different approaches. Experience shows that competency programs should hold individuals accountable for outcomes and results, not for the manner in which they achieve these outcomes.


If you analyze these four rules, you'll notice that they have something in common -- they work with employees, not against them. These rules don't try to break people down and build them anew; they recognize employees' innate abilities and seek to enhance them. More importantly, well-designed competency programs that acknowledge these rules fuel growth for employees and organizations. They define the outcomes an organization needs from its employees, focus on what can be learned and what must be done, and work to ensure consistency across the organization.