Today’s reader question addresses a dilemma many of us face: time versus results.
I’m a manager in the sales department. Our company does not have a competency model in place, but we want to offer some skills training for our sales managers.
My thought is that we should define the skills set, ask sales managers to do self-assessments, have directors provide their assessments, conduct a gap analysis, create individual development plans, then lastly draft a training calendar. But now there’s some confusion about whether we should conduct the skills training given the absence of a competency model. I’m concerned that if we take time to design the competency model, it could take months and that’s a long time not to be doing any kind of training with our sales team.
I’ve been in this situation before. Especially when it comes to training. Someone says, “We don’t have time for a lengthy assessment. We know exactly what needs to be done.” And maybe they do. But often the assessment yields a different result. But I get it, we have a business to run and sometimes long processes aren’t the best course of action.
Competency modeling is the process of determining the specific competencies that are indicative of high performance and career success in a specific job. In the book “Achieving the Perfect Fit” author Nick Boulter outlines six steps in the competency modeling process.
- Defining the performance criteria for the job
- Choosing a sample of people who are performing the job
- Collecting sample data about the behaviors that lead to job success
- Developing hypotheses about the individual competencies and how well they work together
- Validating the results
- Applying the competency model in human resources activities
I totally agree, it’s a long process and it could result in the company spending money on skills training it doesn’t need. I also agree with the reader that not doing anything while a competency model is being developed could be equally wasteful. But there are a few things that can be done.
See if your industry or profession has a competency model. For example, the Association for Talent Development (ATD) has developed a sales competency model. This could be used in lieu of developing a proprietary competency model (saving the company significant dollars) or at least until one was developed within the organization.
Identify skills that you’re confident would be in a competency model. I could see problem-solving, customer communications, and negotiation skills definitely being a part of a sales competency model. While a model is being developed, skills training could be conducted in these areas.
There are moments when it makes sense to take the time and use the resources necessary to properly build something unique to the organization. Then there are times when existing resources can yield comparable results. We have access to so much great information. The hard part is finding it and deciding what’s best for our organization.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby0