How often have we wondered – “Well, everyone who was on this project had the right competencies, the skills that were required. Yet the project failed to meet its deadlines and ran over budget. We seemed to have all the ingredients yet it didn’t fly!”
Let us not assume the immense potential that people have, will automatically lead to what they will achieve just by placing them in a situation. Of course the goal that trainers have is to maximize the realization of potential, but how many times have we seen this succeed in our own experiences. In fact, we trainers have to realize that the objectives we train people towards themselves are only enabling objectives. We frame them as: “At the end of this training, the learners will be able to do xyz…”. The phrase to notice is ‘will be able to’. Being able to do something, and actually doing something are two very different behaviors.
Possibility > Competence > Rea??lity > Achievement > Result/Outcome
To derive the benefit from our skill/competency we must know the factors that become the intermediaries between skill/competency and achievement. This is reality. Our reality becomes evident in our motives and choices. What lie between skill/competency and achievement are our motives or wants, our choices of actions and plans, and our ability to implement.
Skill/Competency > Wants > Actions > Achievement
Lets see what Competency and Skill means.
a) Competency/Competence: an important skill that is needed to do a job (Cambridge)
b) Skill: i) An ability to do an activity or job well, especially because you have practiced it (Cambridge)
ii) The ability to do something that comes from training, experience, or practice (Webster)
Fig. 1. Many Competencies get together into a Skill necessary for a job-role. Several Skills are necessary in a job-role, and several Roles get together in a Function, many of which get together to form a Business.
Each of us begins by intuitively knowing or believing the competencies we have. We’ve also been told of our competencies ever since our childhood, through school and on the job by our parents, teachers, friends, supervisors and colleagues. Our beliefs are reinforced by the feedback and responses of our environment, of people around us. We must realize that the response of our environment is based on what they perceive as our skill, which is the result of the practice of a competency of ours.
Skills are a result of successful practice of our competencies, chosen by our ‘want’ to practice them, from the opportunities presented by our environment, and in the ways we want to practice. Assuming responsibility for our ‘wants’ gives us choices to make. We choose our wants, our objectives.
WANT = Wish to Acquire Necessitated by Thought
What we want is typically driven by our values and the opportunities we perceive to increase our fulfillment of our values, of what we value, of our value.
VALUE = Virtuous Aspects of Life Ubiquitously Established
We identify objectives we want to achieve. This choice of objectives is driven by our values, our environment, as well as what we believe our competencies and skills are. We choose objectives that are meaningful for us, as well as which will be possible for us to achieve with our competencies and skills.
We work out plans for us to act on the objectives. The more important the objective for us, the more commitment we have to the plan. To be the best, the plan needs to break down the objective into a work breakdown structure that most effortlessly fulfills our objectives in the least time. The choices we make at this time are about what the individual and interrelated tasks will be, and at what level of detail we will visualize and describe the tasks.
Do action (implement)
With the plan towards our objectives, we start working at the tasks outlined in the plan. As we get into the execution of our planned tasks, we make choices about detailing the steps for ourselves, which sometimes happens deliberately, though usually it might happen the way we have always done those tasks, organically defined and flowing into the next tasks, etc.
The most important aspects to focus on in this stage are to focus, to execute, and to persist in making the effort to execute, always verifying whether we’re moving closer to our objectives as we think we should. Many a time, reflecting occasionally on our Want can rejuvenate the focus for us.
We’ve all been in situations where an action we had decided to do seems to be failing to meet the objectives. We have a choice at that time, of whether to continue, to stop and choose a different/modified action. It is therefore important to be able to project the effect(s) of the actions we do.
Finally, to keep doing something until the objective is met, is what becomes achievement. The closure of action, the point after which the action is no longer needed, is possibly the most important to arrive at. If we don’t achieve closure, our energies will continue to need to be spent in sustaining/continuing the action we were doing.
As we find our way to achievement, it becomes important for us to know how to modify (if required) the action so that achievement is brought closer.
Fig 2. Achievement results from focusing our competencies into skills, setting objectives, planning, and then executing the plan with commitment to ourselves.
Fig.3. S: Skills, C: Competencies, W: Wants, A: Action plans, T: Training
Let’s take this example (Fig. 3.) where we are considering the hiring of candidate X, for working at and accomplishing the WORK of developing a working MIS.
In many situations you as the recruiter will not know how the outcome can be achieved. You may not know what competencies and skills are required to achieve the outcome in the best possible way, in the least time and cost possible. You may also not know what possible methods could be employed to arrive at the outcome. We may assume you know some of the attributes and desired standards of development of the outcome.
At the point you start assessing the candidate, you also do not know much about them.
How should you go about selecting the best candidate for the job?