Successful Team Development Using Competencies
by Cindy Wozny-Carl, Vision3100 Consulting
Watching this year’s summer Olympics made me think of what makes a successful team. It seems like each team member knew their role and trusted that everyone else on the team did too. We in Real Estate know all the pieces needed to build buildings and manage them to add value. Can we apply this to people? When I worked for a large real estate developer and manager, I was amazed by how everyone knew their top five strengths and appreciated them. “I am a realtor, arranger, maximizer, learner, communicator.” Everyone would be excited to think that if we know our strengths, we can use that to build a balanced team. But is it the right team for that organization? Until we understand what the organization’s needs are, we won’t be able to understand what behaviors contribute to the organization’s success. Understanding and then identifying these “competencies” is a great debate among the human resources research community. The common thread is that a company can obtain a competitive advantage if it possesses a unique bundle of skills and behaviors. Successfully developing them should be the focus of defining and building your company’s competencies.
What is a competency? The most common competency building tool uses sixty seven of them. They define competency as a “measurable characteristic of a person that is related to success at work”. Anther definition is “the skills and personal characteristics that contribute to superior performance”.
Identifying competencies can be a complex process. Through the use of competency models, some providers suggest identifying three to five behaviors that capture how the company competitively differentiates itself. These can be chosen from among hundreds of possible choices. Others may use a framework of several components, such as behaviors dealing with people, business, individual attributes and develop multiple levels of competencies within each component. The key is to create a highly tailored, actionable set of behaviors that align employees with the values or strategy of the company.
Once these behaviors are understood, they then can be translated to the skills, knowledge, attitudes and motives that characterize exceptional performance. They must be understood at all levels of the organization in order to be integrated into how you select, develop, assess and reward people.
That certainly helps me appreciate the performance of any successful team, whether at the Olympics or in our day-to-day work lives.