To stay competitive, one must adapt to the changing times. Today, there are already many competencies that were unheard of 50 years ago. This is particularly true for functional competencies which are job-specific competencies; in the past, there were no web developers and designers, which mean that before, people were not required to know programming languages and stylesheets. The advent of technology has paved the way for these competencies to exist; thus, people who want to be able to move up in their career have to evolve too, especially when it comes to developing new competencies.
There are three phases in developing a new competency, and these are:
Phase 1 – Understanding the competency
Phase 2 – Building a competency framework
Phase 3 – Execution.
Understanding the Competency
In order to learn a new competency, it is important to have a good understanding of the job or position that an individual wants to get. Recognize the tasks or roles involved for such a position and determine what kinds of competencies are needed. Take note that in determining what these are, one needs to take into account knowledge, skills, and attitudes and not just one or two of these. If an individual is unsure of what these competencies are, it is best to ask from the employer or the manager regarding the matter so that a clearer understanding can be achieved.
The next step is to list down all these tasks, and their corresponding competencies. Describe each competency, making sure that descriptions are straightforward and direct to the point. Thereafter, one must take a good look at his current competencies and match this against the list; identify which ones he currently possesses, and which ones he still has to learn and develop. Once this is done, phase 1 is complete.
Building a Competency Framework
While competency frameworks are usually created by and for organizations, one can also make their own personal competency framework. To do this, the person will only need to make use of the list he made in phase 1. That phase was all about getting a good idea of what competencies are needed for a certain position and which of these the person lacks. Now phase 2 is where one creates the framework or model that he will adhere to in helping him develop a new competency or set of competencies.
From the current list, make a new list which should comprise three columns labeled as: role/task, competency, and demonstration. To cite an example, if the role required is “leadership” then one can put “influence” as the competency, and “demonstration” column can list “gains trust of team members when making suggestions and giving ideas by listening, keeping an open mind, and making others feel important.” If the role is quite broad, one can also opt to use subgroups to clearly label the competencies and how these can be demonstrated.
The final phase in developing a new competency would be execution. Many people make the mistake of attending trainings, seminars, and workshops but never get around to actually implementing what they have learned. Others also hire consultants to create competency frameworks for them or for the organization but do not use such frameworks at all, which is a big waste of resources. One thing anyone who aims to develop a new competency should remember is that execution is very important. It is necessary to put into practice what one has learned in order for it to become one’s competency; otherwise, it will only be a framework and nothing else.
The third column labeled as “demonstration” should be one’s guide and must be practiced as often as possible. So, if “listening” is under this column, then practicing it should be done consistently until such time it will become a natural thing to do. It takes 21 days to build a habit, and once it already has become one, then the person is on his way towards developing and acquiring a new competency. In the same way as a person who needs to learn a skill-based competency such as “typing,” he must practice typing documents everyday so that he can become fast, accurate, and efficient at this particular skill. If he does not practice, he will not develop the skill at all.