Competency models are widely used in business for defining and assessing competencies within organizations in both hard and soft skills. They represent a key component of recruitment and hiring, as well as talent and performance management activities of HR departments. Competency assessments often help form the basis for training programs and learning content, both formal and informal.
Competency models have emerged as valuable tools employed by human resources and training departments to define skill and knowledge requirements of specific jobs, to assess competencies and performances, and help set business strategy.
The models can be created for specific jobs, job groups, occupations, industries and organizations. In certain areas such as sales and leadership, necessary competencies have been extensively studied and a broad consensus reached regarding specific skills, attitudes and behaviors needed to succeed.
Effective models also form the basis for linking competency with organizational strategy, an important best practice, training consultants advise. They also enable organizations to link expertise with HR processes, evaluation and often productivity goals. The Competency Model Clearinghouse, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, recommends that organizations seeking to build competency models follow a five-step process:
- Gather background information. That includes cataloging existing resources, organizing resources, comparing contents to the building blocks framework, and determining commonalities for an industry model.
- Develop a draft competency model framework. Identify themes and patterns in the information, and relate the information to content areas.
- Gather feedback from subject matter experts. If possible, select experts from across geographic and industry sub-sectors to gain the broadest perspective.
- Refine the framework. Add or delete competencies as appropriate.
- Validate the framework. This essential step ensures acceptance by the target community of users.
THE KOLENA ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMPETENCY MODEL
About the Model – The Kolena Entrepreneurship Competency Model is depicted in a graphic consisting of nine tiers. The arrangement of the tiers in a pyramidal shape is not meant to be hierarchical, or to imply that competencies at the top are at a higher level of skill. The model’s shape represents the increasing specialization and specificity in the application of skills as you move up the tiers. Tiers 1-4 have been developed and are divided into blocks. The blocks represent competency areas, that is, the applied skills, knowledge, abilities essential to successful entrepreneurial performance. A table of the competency definitions and associated key behaviors accompanies the graphic.
Tiers 1 through 3 contain Foundation Competencies, which form the foundation needed to be ready to enter the workplace.
Tier 1 –Personal Effectiveness Competencies are shown as hovering below the pyramid because these competencies are essential for all life roles. Often referred to as “soft skills,” personal effectiveness competencies are generally learned in the home or community and reinforced and honed at school and in the workplace. They represent personal attributes that may present some challenges to teach or assess.
Tier 2 – Academic Competencies are critical competencies primarily learned in a school setting. They include cognitive functions and thinking styles. Academic competencies are likely to apply to all industries and occupations.
Tier 3 – Workplace Competencies represent motives and traits, as well as interpersonal and self-management styles. They generally are applicable to a large number of occupations and industries.
Tiers 4 and 5 contain Industry Competencies, which are specific to an industry or industry sector. Since entrepreneurship is not an industry, tiers 4 and 5 have been broken out as follows:
Tier 4 – Entrepreneurship Technical Competencies represent the knowledge and skills that are common to all entrepreneurial activities. These technical competencies build on, but are more specific than, competencies represented on lower tiers.
Tier 5 – Entrepreneurial Focus Areas represent types of enterprise. Related competencies may be developed by interest groups or communities of practice.
Tiers 6 through 9 represent the specialization that occurs within specific occupations within an industry. Information on occupational competencies is available through O*NET OnLine (http://online.onetcenter.org/).
Tier 1 –Personal Effectiveness Competencies
Interpersonal Skills: Displaying skills to work with others from diverse backgrounds.
- Interpersonal Skills
- 10 Soft Skills You Need
Demonstrate Insight into Behavior
- Understand the difference between hearing and listening
- Know some ways to improve the verbal skills of asking questions and communicating with power.
- Understand what non-verbal communication is and how it can enhance interpersonal relationships.
- Identify the skills needed in starting a conversation, moving a conversation along, and progressing to higher levels of conversation.
- Identify ways of creating a powerful introduction, remembering names, and managing situations when you’ve forgotten someone’s name.
- Understand how seeing the other side, building bridges and giving in without giving up can improve skills in influencing other people.
- Understand how the use of facts and emotions can help bring people to your side.
Maintain Open Communication
- Maintain open lines of communication with others
- Encourage others to share problems, successes, and new ideas
- Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others
- Demonstrate honesty and integrity
Work with Diverse People
- Demonstrate respect for the opinions, perspectives, customs, and individual differences of others
- Value diversity of people and ideas
- Keep an open mind when dealing with a wide-range of people
- Consider others’ viewpoints
- Develop effective relationships with diverse personalities
- Take action to learn about the climate, orientation, needs, and values of other groups, organizations, or cultures
Tier 2 – Academic Competencies
Reading: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- All workshops
- Locate written information in prose and in documents such as manuals, reports, memos, letters, forms, graphs, charts, tables, calendars, schedules, signs, notices, applications, and directions
- Attain meaning and core ideas in written materials
Attention to Detail
- Identify main ideas
- Note details and facts
- Detect inconsistencies
- Identify implied meaning and details, missing information, and trends
- Analyze information in written materials
- Synthesize information from various written materials
- Integrate what is learned from written materials with prior knowledge
- Apply what is learned from written material to follow instructions and complete tasks
Tier 3 – Workplace Competencies
Creative Thinking: Generating innovative and creative solutions.
- Developing Creativity
Generate Innovative Solutions
- Reframe problems in a different light to find fresh approaches
- Entertain wide-ranging possibilities others may miss
- Use information, knowledge, and beliefs to generate original, innovative solutions
- Take advantage of difficult or unusual situations to develop unique approaches and useful solutions
- Search for new ways of improving efficiency of existing processes
- Identify what is missing from current product stream
- Search for new ideas for product improvement
- Apply innovative new ideas that satisfy the needs of a clearly defined market
- Demonstrate new ways of thinking, not merely about what is, but of what might be
- Conduct brainstorming sessions
- Exhibit capacity for imagination, creativity, and empathy
See the Big Picture
- Possess broad knowledge and perspective
- Piece together seemingly unrelated data to identify patterns and trends to see a bigger picture
- Think expansively by combining ideas in unique ways
- Make connections between disparate things to see what others may have missed
- Identify the pieces of a system as a whole and the consequences of actions on parts of the system
Tier 4 – Technical Competencies
Principles of Entrepreneurship: Knowledge of processes and characteristics that are central to entrepreneurial activities.
- Team Building Through Chemistry
- Employee Motivation
- Business Succession Planning
- Implement processes associated with successful entrepreneurial performance
- Discovery – stage in which the entrepreneur generates ideas, recognizes opportunities, and determines the feasibility of ideas, markets, ventures, etc.
- Concept Development – stage in which the entrepreneur plans the venture, identifies needed resources using a business plan, identifies strategies to protect intellectual property, etc.
- Resourcing – stage in which the entrepreneur identifies and acquires the financial, human, and capital resources needed for the venture startup, etc.
- Actualization – stage in which the entrepreneur operates the venture and utilizes resources to achieve its goals/objectives
- Harvesting – stage in which the entrepreneur decides on the venture’s future (growth, development, demise)
Leadership & Team Building
- Exhibit passion for goal attainment
- Take responsibility for the enterprise
- Lead others using positive statements
- Encourage creative thinking and innovation
- Determine the roles and responsibilities that leaders and members bring to an organization
- Enlist others in working toward a shared vision
- Build consensus
- Evaluate characteristics of effective team players and effective teams
- Build a team to compliment one’s own skills and talents
- Select people who are committed, interested, and capable of undertaking the task at hand
- Recognize others’ efforts
- Use a replicable process to create enterprises that are sustainable
- Manage the implementation and execution of the business plan to grow the enterprise
- Recognize when to seek outside help and use available resources
- Follow advice from trusted sources
- Recognize when the enterprise has reached its potential
- Develop a continuation plan
- Pass over leadership to others when the organization needs change