6M | Modeling Strategic Leadership Competencies for the future of your organization
In today’s constantly evolving business environment, organizations face more complex problems than ever before. As workforces continue to become more diverse and competitive, organizations must look inward to leverage and develop their existing talents, in order to tackle these challenges. Pinsight’s 6M Model: 6 Steps to Developing Leaders for the Future of Your Organization, provides organizations with a useful framework for strategic leadership competency development, and in part 2 of a 9-part series on this framework, we will address the importance of marketing your Strategic Leadership Competency Model to achieve widespread organizational buy-in.
What are the most important knowledge, skills, abilities and attributes that leaders need to be successful?
As with setting strategy, the first and often most challenging step for talent leaders is to define not just which characteristics are important for leaders to be successful, but what skills they will not be highlighting, in order to remain focused on the critical objectives. For many organizations, focusing on a select few leadership skills is a difficult task, as it often raises heated objections that insist all skills are equally important for all leaders. Despite the debate, for leaders to be successful in the future, a few specific leadership skills must be selected based on the critical objectives. To identify these, leaders must first identify the specific knowledge, skills, and attributes needed, and then build a competency model around them.
What is competency modeling?
Competency modelling is the process of defining a discrete set of knowledge, skills, abilities and other requirements needed for successful job performance. It is a careful exercise involving both stakeholder engagement and rigorous science.
To be most effective, competency models should be highly tailored to the organization and its current context; they must account for all the factors that will influence the behaviors of leaders that the model is trying to improve, including the organizational culture, market forces, customer needs, employee relations, and strengths and weaknesses of its management team.
Although many organizations will adopt competencies that are similar in content and can be applied universally regardless of the organizational context (e.g., adaptability or communication skills), successful competency models also identify competencies that align to current corporate strategy and foster a competitive advantage. For example, organizations that view customer orientation as a competitive advantage will likely have competencies promoting market analysis and customer-centric thinking, whereas organizations that view innovation as critical to win in their market will favor competencies that emphasize entrepreneurial spirit and change management. While job analysis tends to be focused on the current day job and employees’ day to day tasks, competency modeling at the strategic level, is future focused, as it is tightly linked to the organization’s goals and influences, future behaviors, and focus.
Where do I begin?
To begin the process of competency selection, use a top-down approach, starting with strategic plans and objectives, and gathering associated input from senior executives. This input should consider the future leadership role requirements either directly or indirectly, and produce a competency model that documents the current situation, while attempting to look into the future. Ensuring that the competency model is linked to business goals and objectives is critical to the interest, acceptance and commitment of management.
Further evidence for the fit of the model can also be gathered from other groups in the workforce, collected via surveys, focus groups, SME interviews, job observations and feedback sessions. Surveys in particular are a powerful way to gather a lot of information with a relatively small amount of investment. Questions should ask about the importance of certain competencies for the future, the linkage to future strategies and business objectives, and whether certain competencies will differentiate great leaders from average leaders, and a high performing organization from an underperforming one.
Once a model is developed, the organization will be equipped with a consistent and clear foundation upon which it can direct its effort and make numerous management and talent decisions. But having a model is not enough to ensure its acceptance, adoption and integration into day to day practice: the model must be marketed well and attract champions and early adopters.
Ready to dive into the next step? Subscribe to our newsletter or check back in few weeks. We’ll broaden your understanding of each of the 6 steps in the process, how to successfully implement and engage stakeholders, and how Pinsight’s platform enables organizations to address leadership development with confidence.
 Campion, M.A., Fink, A.A., Ruggeberg, B.J., Carr, L., Phillips, G.M., & Odman, R.B. (2011). Doing competencies well: Best practices in competency modeling. Personnel Psychology, 64, 225-262.‹ Previous PostNext Post ›