How do you create alignment between your organization’s strategy and your work as a talent professional?

How do you demonstrate the value of training dollars?

How do you identify the roles that need more focus from your training team?

The answers may lie in competency modeling. Competencies are the knowledge and skills people need to be successful on the job, such as communicating effectively. Every job has them.

Here are the steps to implement competency modeling in your organization:

Step 1: Identify Competencies

Choose a team, role or set of roles. Determining the scale of your effort in this step is essential to your communication with executive stakeholders.

Clearly define the competencies necessary to succeed in that role, considering:

  • Your organization’s strategy
  • Job descriptions
  • Current responsibilities of those in role

Consider grouping your competencies into dimensions like leadership, professional, workplace, and technical.

Now craft your competency model. Here’s an example.


Each role will be different. Entry-level accountants will have a different set of competencies than the VPs in your organization.

Focus on creating a clear competency model for each role and defining the universal competencies that span all roles in your scope.

Step 2: Assess Criticality

“If everything is important, then nothing is.” – Patrick Lencioni

Conduct surveys of employees and managers to determine the criticality of each competency, considering two factors:

  • Importance– How important is this competency to positional success?
  • Level of effort to master– How hard is the competency to learn and apply?

Ultimately you want to understand how critical each competency is for the role or set of roles you’ve chosen. Is it more critical for people to succeed through systems expertise or teamwork? Communicating effectively or problem solving?

Let the numbers tell the story. Be rigorous in your analysis.

Step 3: Assess Current Abilities

How skilled are your people at each competency? Do they struggle to communicate effectively? Do they have challenges planning and managing their time? Do they lack systems expertise?

Don’t rely on anecdotal evidence. Create a survey that measures their current abilities.

Step 4: Identify and Address Gaps

Compare the current ability levels to criticality scores for each competency.

Focus on gaps that are statistically significant. You can use these gaps to make employee performance scorecards dramatically more effective.

You can tailor training programs to improve peoples’ abilities.

You can drive change based on the goals and objectives of your organization’s strategy.

You can identify the right training programs to deliver to each role.


If done well, you’ll have a system in place for learning and development. A system that works.

If you would like to master your organization’s strategic planning efforts, contact Dering Consulting Group.


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