Competencies Should Job Incumbents Possess/Demonstrate?

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nizational strategy. Apply competency modeling approaches with an emphasis

on future, rather than past or present, competencies. Then use the resulting

competency models as a guide to prepare individuals for advancement into

key positions.

Alas, however, future competencies may not be identical to present or past

competencies. Indeed, they may even conflict with them. For instance, think

about such examples as IBM after downsizing or AT&T after deregulation. In

each case, what was required for future success was not what had been historically

required—or even desired—by the organization. That created a dilemma.

Managers who succeeded under the old conditions were suddenly outmoded

and were even unfit to counsel a new generation about what it would take for

them to succeed. In these settings, managers had to identify—and cultivate—

talent that was quite different from their own if their organizations were to

survive. Exemplary future competence, then, represents a moving target, an

ideal, a description of what people will probably have to know, do, or feel to

perform successfully amid the vague uncertainties of the future.9

Future-oriented competency models, like future-oriented position descriptions,

suffer from the same strengths and weaknesses as their traditional counterparts.

While more rigorous than job analysis, a competency model can be

confusing to those who do not clearly understand what it is. Additionally,

future-oriented competency models usually require considerable time and expertise

to carry out successfully. That may require strategists to devote significant

time and resources to it, which they may be reluctant to do.

3. Future-Oriented Rapid Results Assessment

This approach to competency identification has very real potential to help

decision-makers plan for future work requirements in key positions. Nor does

it require substantial expertise, time, or resources to carry out. To use it, simply

focus attention on desirable future competencies. Apply the steps depicted

in Exhibit 9-5. Then use those steps to examine competencies in each key

position in the organization. Use the results as the basis to plan for individual

development and organizational SP&M generally.10

Rapid results assessment enjoys important advantages: It can be conducted

quickly; it enjoys high face validity because it uses experienced and exemplary

job incumbents (or other knowledgeable people) on which to base positionspecific

information; it permits the personal involvement of key decisionmakers,

thereby building their ownership in the results; and it can be used to

move beyond a focus on mere work activities or tasks to include descriptions

of underlying characteristics or work outputs. However, it shares the disadvantages

of its traditional counterpart: The results are not as rigorous nor as complete

as other competency modeling methods, and the results are heavily

dependent on the credibility of the individual panelists. Additionally, as in

other future-oriented approaches, it is only as good as the assumptions about

the future on which it is based.