Competency Identification, Values Clarification, and Ethics 89
' Formulate individual development plans (IDPs) to help individuals narrow
the developmental gap between what competencies they need to be successful
(as described by the competency model) and what competencies they pres-
ently possess (as identified by a full-circle, multirater assessment or other ap-
proaches to examining current performance or future potential).
' Establish competency inventories that describe unique talents possessed by
individuals.
Conducting Competency Identification Studies
Competency studies may have different goals. The goals must be clear before the
resulting studies will be useful. Those who set out to conduct competency studies
should be clear on what they are trying to do, why they are doing it, and what their
stakeholders (such as the CEO) are seeking. Elaborate studies do little good if nobody
knows what they are for, nobody really wanted them, or nobody knows how to use
them.
A present competency study focuses on one department, job category, or occupa-
tional group. In conducting a competency study of this kind, it is sometimes impor-
tant to create two distinct groups for the department or other unit studied: exemplary
performers and average performers. The goal is usually to discover the difference
between the highest performers and the average performers in the group. When com-
pleted, the competency study clarifies the currently essential competencies for success.
A future competency study also focuses on one department, job category, or occu-
pational group. But in conducting a competency study of this kind, it is usually im-
portant to start by describing the organization’s strategic goals and objectives. What
results will the organization seek in the future? Why will those results be sought?
What competencies are necessary to realize those results so that the human talent at
all levels of the organization aligns with its strategic objectives? The approach is there-
fore different from that in a present competency study. Sometimes nobody in the
organization is an exemplary performer when compared to future requirements. It
may thus be necessary to do scenario planning to discover the competencies needed
in a future business environment. That also requires a level of sophistication that few
internal practitioners possess—or have time to use if they do.
A derailment competency study focuses on the characteristics linked to failure—or
to falling off the fast track—for those in one department, job category, or occupa-
tional group. In conducting a derailment study, it is usually important to identify
individuals who have failed assignments, dropped off the high-potential list, experi-
enced career plateauing, or otherwise become ineligible for a list of successors or
high potentials. The goal is to determine why people who were once considered high
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