Job Competencies include different types of thinking, such as Analytical, Conceptual or Strategic – together, these are the components of Critical Thinking. A superior sales person would be particularly strong in Relationship Building, Persuasion, Interpersonal Understanding, and Customer Service Orientation. In training, a superior performer would also have Persuasion skills along with a high level of Integrity and be able to Develop Others. A few more of the 24 job competencies include Organizational Awareness, Organizational Commitment, Initiative and Flexibility.
At a recent talk at Dallas Baptist University (Frisco Campus), I was ask if “underlying characteristics” are something we learn or something that is part of our DNA. I don’t think competencies are part of our hardwired DNA other than to say much of who we are is a direct impact of our formative years. We pick up the accent of the community we grow up in and absorb the neighborhood’s cultural norms. Someone growing up in the Bronx is going to have a different accent and a different set of life experiences than the kid growing up in the prairies of South Dakota.
As an air force brat, I lived in three states (six seperate towns) and two foreign countries. You would think I would have had a culturally diverse youth, but in fact, residence of air force bases are a remarkable homogenous group. There are shared group norms – everybody goes to the base hospital, shops for groceries at the commissary and goes over to the base PX for socks and underwear. It is a tribal community that would be foreign to someone in a neighboring town.
While our youth helps define our core being, life does change albeit in mostly tiny increments. Like a wrench tightening a loose bolt, our lives are constantly being “adjusted” through cultural and political events, the dynamics of family events, and our own professional career path and day-to-day life experiences. And each generation has its own heroes and global events that shapes the window to the world.
Over the years, I have taken many people though a 10-minute competency exercise to help them identify their top six job competencies. While we all have a distinct “competency model” to offer the work place, I think our personal competency model adapts over time based on the job assignments and the degree our interests and limitations allow the model to change.
Someone who is rigid and sees the world in black and white may have a clearer understanding of how to leverage their current competency model in the workplace. However, in the long-term, they will have a difficult time making the necessary adjustments to assure their model is always command a premium price.