The Most Important Competency for Success


Competency models happen to be one of my favorite aspects of Talent Management. They provide organizations with a common language and consistent framework for performance within an organization. They help to define what’s really important. It is arguably one of the most critical roles of HR and Talent Management professionals to spend the time doing the hard work of identifying, defining, and regularly measuring the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) necessary for success for each role within a given organization. I think we can all agree that it’s difficult to make real progress from a performance management, career development, or succession planning perspective without having a customized, robust competency model developed specifically for an organization.
As a self-proclaimed “competency junkie” – I’ve found myself always seeking out the latest research on which competencies tend to be the “most important” for success at a given point in time. Of course, there are many different types of competency models that organizations tend to develop – i.e., technical competencies, leadership competencies, organizational competencies, etc. –and each set has its own level of importance. However, there are some competencies that can be thought of as “evergreen” or always important. To me, those are the competencies that require the most attention.
For many years, Learning Agility was my “favorite” competency. Bob Eichinger and Mike Lombardo of Lominger wrote an article in 2004 called Learning Agility as a Prime Indicator of Potential describing this competency in more detail. At a high level – it is described as: the ability to adapt quickly when faced with something we aren’t familiar or comfortable with: new or complex information; different surroundings; or unusual circumstances. Those people that are able to apply their skills, knowledge, and experience in the face of the unfamiliar, challenging and new tend to be more successful than their counterparts. To me, this is the key difference between high-potentials and the rest of your employees. And knowing how to identify and develop your high-potentials is critical for an organization’s leadership as they plan for their future leadership and organizational success.
Lately, I’ve been intrigued by some new research by Pearson TalentLens that focuses on Decision Styles — particularly the competency of “Critical Thinking”. Their research has found that this is the most critical skill for success especially from an executive development perspective. I’m just at the beginning of my journey to really understand what this competency is; how it can be built; and what the benefits to an organization can truly be. Over the next few weeks I plan to take an assessment to learn more about my own decision style – and I wanted to extend this offer to all of you (my fellow competency junkies).
HCI and Pearson TalentLens have joined forces to provide our members with an exciting development opportunity! Between now and May 23rd HCI members will have access to a complimentary administration of My Thinking Styles as well as a personalized Development Report. This assessment helps us to understand the variety of thinking styles we use in our daily lives, which ones we favor, which ones we rarely use, and which ones truly help our ability to make good decisions.