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Competency Mapping: What Is It and How It Can Be Done by

Individuals
by Steve Garrett

Overview
Over the past 10 years, human resource and organizational development
professionals have generated a lot of interest in the notion of competencies
as a key element and measure of human performance. Competencies are
becoming a frequently-used and written-about vehicle for organizational
applications such as:
Defining the factors for success in jobs (i.e., work) and work roles within the
organization
Assessing the current performance and future development needs of
persons holding jobs and roles
Mapping succession possibilities for employees within the organization
Assigning compensation grades and levels to particular jobs and roles
Selecting applicants
interviewing techniques

for

open

positions,

using

competency-based

What has not been written about or explored as much over the past decade
are the answers to the following two questions:
1. How do competency-based human resource management methods of
defining and measuring human performance impact individual workers? What
impact does an organizations use of competencies have on individual
employees career management planning and actions in the long-term?
2. How can career management professionals help prepare their individual
clients to identify and present their competency strengths in various work or
job search situations?
The answers to these questions are the basis of this article. However, before I
answer these questions, I need to lay a foundation with some definitions.
How Is Competency Defined in the Context of This Article?
Many definitions of the term competencies have arisen over the past
decade. The definition that I most prefer is as follows:
Competencies include the collection of success factors necessary for
achieving important results in a specific job or work role in a particular
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organization. Success factors are combinations of knowledge, skills, and


attributes (more historically called KSAs) that are described in terms of
specific behaviors, and are demonstrated by superior performers in those
jobs or work roles. Attributes include: personal characteristics, traits, motives,
values or ways of thinking that impact an individuals behavior. *Figure 1
illustrates this definition.
Competencies in organizations tend to fall into two broad categories:
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Personal Functioning Competencies. These competencies include broad


success factors not tied to a specific work function or industry (often
focusing on leadership or emotional intelligence behaviors).
Functional/Technical Competencies. These competencies include
specific success factors within a given work function or industry.

The emphasis of this article will be on how both types of competencies


impact the ways career professionals can advise their clients to use
competencies in their personal career management efforts. In this article,
however, the predominant focus will be on practitioners and clients work on
personal functioning competencies, since they tend to differentiate success
over time more often than do workers functional/technical competencies.
Three other definitions are needed:
Competency Map. A competency map is a list of an individuals
competencies that represent the factors most critical to success in given jobs,
departments, organizations, or industries that are part of the individuals
current career plan.
Competency Mapping. Competency mapping is a process an individual uses
to identify and describe competencies that are the most critical to success in
a work situation or work role.
Top Competencies. Top competencies are the vital few competencies (four
to seven, on average) that are the most important to an individual in their
ongoing career management process. Importance to the individual is an
intuitive decision based on a combination of three factors: past demonstrated
excellence in using the competency, inner passion for using the competency,
and the current or likely future demand for the competency in the individuals
current position or targeted career field.
Although the definition above for competency mapping refers to individual
employees, organizations also map competencies, but from a different
perspective. Organizations describe, or map, competencies using one or more
of the following four strategies:
1. Organization-Wide (often called core competencies or those required
for organization success)
2. Job Family or Business Unit Competency Sets
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3. Position-Specific Competency Sets


4. Competency Sets Defined Relative to the Level of Employee
Contribution (i.e. Individual Contributor, Manager, or Organizational
Leader)
This article will not go into depth about the differences among the four
mapping strategies. Instead, the focus here will be on ways that individuals
need to present or demonstrate the use of the various kinds of competencies
when interacting with organizations.
Research is ongoing about the nature of competencies that are important for
success across many organizations. There are a number of sources that
describe some very common personal functioning competencies found to be
important for employees at all levels across organizations. One good quote in
this area is from Michael Zwell (2000, pgs. 53-55), the author of Creating A
Culture of Competence when he says, From the body of competency
research to date, a basic set of 6 competencies would differentiate the top
quartile of performers from the rest in most positions in an organization:
Initiative, Influence, Results Orientation, Teamwork, Service Orientation, and,
Concern for Quality.
In addition, research on the importance of emotional intelligence to
organization success is starting to identify a number of emotional intelligence
competencies. In particular, Daniel Golemans work describes four categories
of emotional intelligence: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social
Awareness, and Relationship Management. (Goleman, 2002) A companion
article in this journal issue by Kivland and Nass includes further information
on this topic.
Although not included in the information above, the definition of a
competency includes three elements:
1. A title
2. A brief high-level definition
3. One or more key behavioral statements
Below is a sample definition for one competency that has a connection to
Zwells above list of differentiators and also to emotional intelligence.
Motivating Others is an example of an important organization competency
at a sales promotion agency that was my earlier client.
Motivating Others: Facilitating increased commitment, effort and results from
others.
Key Behaviors [Behavioral Indicators]:
Empowers others by inviting input to decisions and requesting appropriate
assistance.
Acknowledges the effort, achievements and contributions of others.
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Uses active listening skills regularly.


Assesses each persons hot buttons and adjusts style to get the best out of
them.
Encourages others to set challenging goals, give their best efforts and work
to their potential.
Helps others to feel important and respected.
Notice that the behavioral statements all begin with an action verb worded in
present tense. This format is important for completing the implied-but-notwritten beginning to each statement, The superior performer.
How Do Competencies Relate to Individual Career Development?
First and foremost, competencies must be demonstrated by individuals.
Perhaps the most common place where they are demonstrated is within the
scope of a particular job or project involvement. However, competencies are
also developed and demonstrated by individuals in the following settings:
volunteer roles in the community, professional associations, school projects,
sports participation settings, and even within ones own home life.
One of the first encounters with competencies for most individuals is in
securing employment with a new organization. Organizations that are
purposefully using cutting-edge methods to choose talent for positions or
project roles are engaging in what is called competency-based interviewing
and selection. These interviewing and selection methods are being used not
only for hiring external applicants, but also for staffing internal roles, as
described later in this article.
Many organizations that use competency-based interviewing and selection
are also later using the same competencies to assess performance, to
encourage future development plans from individuals, and to plan for
succession in the organization. Therefore, the individual employees in such
an organization will have an ongoing need to use and map their
competencies.
Up to this point, Ive implied that the main need for identifying and mapping
competencies is for individuals who may be pursuing full-time employment
with an organization. However, the need for mapping of competencies also
extends to independent contractors seeking project work with those
organizations that broker their services. Take the example of The Fulcrum
Network, an organizational development consulting brokerage organization.
Fulcrum recently released a manual entitled How to Hire the Right
Consultant, in which it identified 18 factors that can be used to evaluate
consultants. (Fulcrum Network, 2002, pg. 10) Most of the 18 factors would be
considered competencies, according to the definition included earlier in this
article. (Note that the process for mapping competencies will not differ
significantly for self-employed individuals from the process explained in a
later section of this article.)

Why Should Individual Employees Map Their Competencies?


A list of compelling reasons includes, at a minimum, the following. An
individual:
Gains a clearer sense of true marketability in todays job market; once the
individual knows how his/her competencies compare to those that are asked
for by the job market in key positions of interest.
Projects an appearance as a cutting-edge and well-prepared candidate,
who has taken the time to learn about competencies, investigate those in
demand, and map his/her own competencies prior to interviewing.
Demonstrates self-confidence that comes from knowing ones competitive
advantages more convincingly, and from being able to articulate those
advantages in specific language.
Secures essential input to resume development - a set of important terms
to use in describing expertise derived from prior career experience.
Gains advanced preparation for interviews, many of which may be delivered
using a competency-based approach called structured behavioral
interviewing or behavioral event interviewing. (See the section below
titled How Does Competency-Based Interviewing and Selection Work?)
Develops the capability to compare ones actual competencies to an
organization or positions required/preferred competencies, in order to create
an Individual Development Plan.
Many organizations today are using the process of 360 degree feedback to
compare an individuals self assessment of his/her own performance against
key position and organization competencies to the assessment of key
stakeholders that the individual interacts regularly with. The 360 feedback
received is then used as input to the Individual Development plan. David
McClelland takes the position that definitions for various competencies,
which contain real-life examples of more competent behavior, provide
specific guideposts as to how to develop the competency. The feedback
information also provides a basis for career counseling or explaining why a
person should or should not be promoted. (McClelland, 1994, p. 10)
Claudette Nowell-Philipp, organizational career consultant, offers strong
philosophical argument for the importance of an individual knowing and
mapping his/her competencies as part of ongoing career planning inside an
organization. Nowell-Philipp says that in todays organizations, especially
those going through fundamental change, it is essential to be able to
articulate your value-add and who you are, as a person and as a
professional, in language that is common and accepted in the organization
(Nowell-Philipp, 2002). That prerogative implies the importance of

competency-based self presentation: in ones resume, in interviews, and in


public functions where introductions and credibility are important.
But what about individuals who work in organizations (or have their own
businesses) that do not hire, appraise or develop employees using
competencies? There are several reasons for these individuals to map their
competencies, as well:
1. If the individual ever has a desire to leave the current organization, it is
very possible that competencies may be a part of the HR practices
used by the next employer.
2. The true factors for success dont really vary that much in most
organizations. This is another way of saying that competencies tend to
be valid across a wide range of jobs, work roles, organizations,
industries, and professions. Therefore, even if competencies are not
officially being used, they do indeed have a lot to do with success in
most organizations. So an individual who is prepared with insight into
his/her own competencies will probably be able to use them in service
of success in the organization anyway.
3. If the individual is self-employed, then self-presentation of strategicallytargeted competencies will be an essential every-day practice in order
to develop new business. (Remember the Fulcrum Network earlier
example in this article.)
Based upon the above description of the benefits of competency mapping,
and the likely organizational and self-employed applications of ones
competency map, it is probably clear by now that an individual needs to
become very familiar with his/her own competencies and examples of when
they have been demonstrated in the past.
Therefore, individuals need to build some time into their career management
efforts to do the following:
Research (likely through informational interviews with key contacts) which
competencies are in demand in their target organizations as a whole, and in
particular positions of interest.
Map their current competencies, giving emphasis to those which appear
to be in the most demand.
Integrate key current competencies into their resume, along with
behavioral examples and key outcomes or results obtained.
Practice describing their competencies, complete with behavioral
examples
of
past
use.
Map their future development needs for additional competencies,
based on their future career goals and the results of the informational
interviewing noted above. One caution here: The Gallup Organization has
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recently presented the results of relevant research in their best-selling books


First Break All the Rules, and later, Now, Discover Your Strengths.
(Buckingham & Clifton, 1999) They caution that Strengths (talents, to which
one has added knowledge and skills) may not be developable in many cases,
and may need to be built into up-front hiring criteria as a result. So the
caution with using competencies for development planning is this - be careful
of spending too much time trying to develop a missing competency into a
strength. Sometimes the implication may be for the individual to find a
position that better matches his/her current strengths.
How Does Competency-Based Interviewing and Selection Work?
Competency-based interviewing and selection presupposes that a set of
organization-wide, job family/department, or position-specific competencies
have been identified by the organization. Interviewers are then trained in the
art of Structured Behavioral Interviewing, which has several hallmarks:
A structured set of questions is used to interview all candidates.
Each question is designed to elicit behavioral examples from the candidate
which demonstrate the use of one or more key behaviors underlying each
competency that is accounted for in the interview.
A team of interviewers is usually used and they typically divide the list of
competencies among themselves so that each interviewer can focus on
asking the related detailed behavioral questions and documenting candidate
responses.
Interviewers typically ask open-ended and situation-based questions
such as, Think of a specific time when you faced ____________? How did you
handle the situation? How did it turn out?
Interviewers record evidence of behaviors that the candidate relates,
and they ask probing questions to gather complete behavioral evidence that
includes details of the circumstance, the actions taken by the candidate, and
the results achieved. This process is called the CAR (circumstance, action,
results) Model.
At the conclusion of the interview, all interviewers of a particular
candidate meet and compare the behaviors they heard from the
candidate that support the assertion that the candidate possesses a specific
competency. If the candidate did not offer specific examples with relevant
behaviors, after additional attempts at rephrasing the question or asking
different but related questions, then the determination is made that the
candidate does not possess the competency. (The underlying philosophy here
is that the best predictor of future performance is past performance that was
demonstrated by concrete, observable behavior.
A final hiring decision is made based on the total strength of
competencies demonstrated by each candidate, compared with those
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competencies that are considered essential for success in the position and in
the organization, and as compared with the competency strengths of the
remaining candidates for the same position.
(A more in-depth description of the above may be found in another article by
Simonsen and Smith that can found elsewhere in this issue of the Journal
[CPaD Journal 18_4]).
How is Competency Mapping Carried Out by Individuals?
Individuals can complete their own competency mapping process by
completing a series of logical steps, including:
1. Find and locate relevant competency resources.
2. Identify the individuals current competencies and then determine the
top competencies.
3. Define the top competencies with a list of behaviors the individual has
demonstrated in the past.
4. For each key behavior, identify past performance examples.
5. Prepare verbal explanations of the examples, using the CAR Model.
(Note: Completing this step of the process has considerable value for
the individual. In addition to being used during interviews, situation
examples will also be of great value when participating in a
performance appraisal, in a proactive career networking situation, or in
identifying future positions of interest either internal or external to the
organization.)
6. Use the top competencies and key behavioral examples to write or
revise the individuals resume.
These steps are described below.
Step 1: Find and locate relevant competency resources.
The first action here must be to identify what types of competencies the
individual most needs to focus on. The individual may be employed by or
seeking employment with an organization that uses any one of the four ways
of categorizing competencies that were identified earlier in the article:
Organization-Wide Core Competencies, Job Family or Business Unit, PositionSpecific, or by Levels of Contribution (i.e. Individual Contributor, Manager, or
Organizational Leader).
Then, of course, the next action is to find a resource that covers the types of
competencies the individual is focusing on.
Some primary options for competency resources would include:
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1. A variety of competency listings and corresponding materials such as


card sorts, are immediately available on the Internet. (Competency
card sorts are decks of cards with individual competencies described
on each card. They are useful for individuals during the sorting
process, in determining the competencies that are part of their map.)
Some of these resources are in the public domain while others are not.
Some are available at no charge, and some must be purchased from
private consulting organizations.
2. Numerous books on the subject of competency identification, available
on the Internet, directly from publishers, and sometimes at bookstores.
On-line booksellers are an immediate source of these items.
3. Local career coaches who are experienced in identifying competencies.
(Note: the International Association of Career Management
Professionals has an Experts Section on its website, www.iacmp.org
<http://www.iacmp.org> that would be a good resource.)
4. Informational interviews with known experts in an occupational field,
and within key organizations the individual is targeting in his/her
career search. In order to increase the effectiveness of discussing the
individuals competencies during informational interviews, I do have
one suggestion to make. Many subject-matter experts, both inside and
outside of the human resource field, have little direct knowledge or
experience with the language of competencies or behavioral science.
Therefore, I have found that it is beneficial for the individual to take a
sample list of easily understood competencies, including their own top
competencies, to their informational interviews. Such a visual aid will
provide an example of how the person being interviewed can best
support meeting the individuals needs for information.

Step 2: Identify ones competencies and determine their top


competencies
As noted in Step 1 above, the individual can identify current competencies
directly by using a card sort. Competencies can also be identified with the
assistance of an experienced coach, either organically through sample
interview questions, standardized assessments, answer and writing exercises,
or through the use of a 360-degree feedback process (i.e., a full-circle multirater evaluation) where one is assessed by ones supervisor, subordinates,
peers,
customers,
clients,
or
others.
No matter which method is used, the individual should do a quick validation
of the list of competencies that emerge to establish their face validity - in
other words, a reality check. (A validation of this sort need not be
scientifically done to add important value to the process.) Next, the individual
should identify the four to seven Top Competencies that they believe are the
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most important to success at this point in their career. As described in the


definition of a Top Competency earlier in this article, importance from the
individuals perspective is an intuitive decision based on a combination of
three factors: (1) past demonstrated excellence in using the competency; (2)
internal passion for using the competency; and, (3) the current or likely future
demand for the competency in the individuals current position or targeted
career field.
Three primary ways of validating ones competencies, and then determining
the top competencies, include:
A review of the list by an experienced coach who knows the client well, in
comparison to an established list of competencies.
The inclusion of the individuals competencies in a 360-feedback or multirater evaluation process, if feedback is sought from others as part of the
coaching process.
Feedback from one or more trusted, experienced mentors.

Step 3: Define the top competencies using behaviors the individual


has demonstrated through past performance.
Career or performance coaches who have expertise in resume writing often
are ideally suited to assist with this task. It can be a somewhat time-intensive
task, made easier by the use of competency development resource materials
(see Step 1). One caution is to ensure that behaviors are worded to include
specific, concrete action verbs (e.g. Helps others see the personal benefits
of doing their job well) instead of vague, cliche-oriented wording (e.g.
Inspires others to go the extra mile). Another suggestion is to limit the
number of behaviors per competency to no more than seven, since the
human mind starts to lose its focus once a list exceeds seven items in length.
Step 4: List performance examples of each key behavior
This is one of the most crucial steps in preparing individuals for competencybased self-presentation. In addition, its a step for which the individual owns
the bulk of the initial responsibility, since the coach does not have easy
access the individuals library of all past experiences. Individuals should
compose a list of their prior work experiences, projects, and volunteer roles.
Then, under each entry, they should spend quiet time thinking of one or
two concrete behavioral examples - times when they had positive results
from their effort. More recent examples are most advantageous, as they tend
to have greater selling value.

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Most career coaches have probably encountered many scenarios where


individuals state some difficulty and/or discomfort with coming up with
specific examples of accomplishments for resume writing. A very useful
technique for clients in envisioning their competency examples is to suggest
categories of end results, and then ask the individual to brainstorm examples
that fit under each catetory. *Figure 2 includes samples of end results.
Step 5: Prepare verbal explanations of the examples, using the CAR
Model
Many career development practitioners have had experience in preparing
clients to develop and present CAR examples. Provided below are a few tips
for coaching individuals to come up with examples when they are confronted
with unexpected interview questions, or requests for unusual examples:
Have written notes, with condensed CAR examples organized by
competency, in ones portfolio during an interview or performance discussion.
Take time to pause and think during the discussion - although silence at
these times can be a painful experience to the candidate, when an example
does not immediately come to mind. A quick glance at ones notes during
these times will be a great help, as well. The pausing technique requires
individuals to develop an inner reservoir of tolerance for silence. Becoming
comfortable with these moments of silence requires practice on the part of
the individual. Our mainstream Western culture does not tend to reward
silence, as does Eastern thinking and culture.
Ask the questioner to rephrase the question, if the meaning is at all
unclear. This allows the individual more time to think, and may also result in a
more clearly worded question from the questioner.
The following is a CAR example for the competency Motivating Others that
might be used by a person conducting an interview for a new position. (Note
that the example is based on the second behavior for Motivating Others that
was listed earlier in this article.)
Interview Question: Tell me about a specific time when you intentionally
recognized the achievement or contribution of someone else, when it would
have been perfectly acceptable to take the credit yourself or not mention the
achievement at all.
Circumstance: I was leading a project team tasked with writing 40 job
descriptions inside a division of the large telecommunications company that I
had been employed by for 8 years. Our project team had been through a
series of planning meetings to put together a project plan that spanned
several months. It was time for us to give a status update to the Senior VP of
Human Resources, before we began interviewing position incumbents and
writing job descriptions.

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Actions: I invited the rest of the project team (three other colleagues) to join
in on the meeting with the HR VP. As part of the status update, I asked each
team member to report on their insights to the project plan we had
completed. I made a point of praising the level of teamwork that we had
developed as a group, thus far in the project. In particular, I thanked one
team member who had brought his MS Project expertise to bear in drafting
the format of the plan we presented to the HR VP.
Results: The HR VP commented later that she was pleased to see the whole
project team so engaged and involved. The other members of the team
talked pointedly about their enthusiasm for the plan that lay ahead, and their
excitement about our team-oriented way of proceeding. We even had some
fun referring to our one team member as the MS Project guru, and he
beamed from ear-to-ear. The project as a whole ended up being completed in
a near-record three months of time, with numerous compliments around the
organization about the quality of the final job descriptions.
Step 6: Use the top competencies and key behavioral examples to
write or revise resumes
I will comment only briefly on resume-writing here, as this is a topic for
another article. But there are at least four areas where a competency-based
approach to writing a resume has impact:
1. In writing a chronological resume, the competency titles and some of
the behavioral action verbs should be integrated into the descriptions
of ongoing responsibilities for each position.
2. In writing a functional resume, the headings of the functional
accomplishment sections should tie very directly into the titles of the
individuals most important competencies. This is especially true for
self-employed consultants, whose functional experience headings
should correlate with their most important consulting service offerings.
Those service offerings should be ones that incorporate the
consultants top competencies.
3. In either version of a resume, accomplishment statements should form
a solid core of information in the experience section. The verbal CAR
statements previously developed can be condensed into ideal resume
accomplishment statements.
4. The summary of qualifications section, usually found at the beginning
of a resume, is an ideal place to list the titles of the individuals top
competencies, almost verbatim.
What Challenges Do Individuals Who Want to Map Their
Competencies Face?
Yes, there are some challenges that an individual will have to surmount in
order to truly integrate competency mapping into his or her career
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management efforts. It is important to highlight some of those challenges


here, and to make some suggestions for overcoming them.
The first challenge has to do with the fact that effective competency mapping
calls for some insight into the requisite competencies for success in the
individuals career field and in key positions of interest. It is often difficult to
find competency-based position descriptions, or organizational lists of key
competencies with effectively-worded behavioral definitions. And many of the
key contacts the individual might seek out for informational interviews will
not be used to describing success in an organization or position in
competency terminology. So, the individuals questions to their contacts
about essential competencies for success in a position or organization may
not be answered well or accurately. These factors will require the individual to
do some guessing as to the most desired or required competencies.
This raises the second challenge. It will be a bit difficult for many individuals
to create their own competency maps, given limited experience with
competencies and their behavioral definitions, as well as some blind spots
about their own prior accomplishments. The apparent solution is for the
individual to find and hire an experienced career coach, as mentioned earlier.
If this option is taken, the individual should use due diligence in selecting
their coach by conducting thorough investigations of candidate coaches
credentials and experience in working with the design, development and
application of competencies in organizational settings. Many career coaches
are experienced in working with their clients to identify knowledge and skills,
but they may not be experienced in the more substantial practice of
identifying competencies as they are used in organizations today. The major
reason for this is that competencies include, in addition to knowledge and
skills, other attributes such as traits, thought patterns, self-esteem, mindsets,
and other characteristics that extend beyond ones knowledge and skills
alone. (This would be a good time for the reader to pause and review my
earlier definition of a competency.)
A third challenge has been mentioned earlier. A common occurrence for many
career consultants is encountering individuals who are less than comfortable
putting the extra effort into (a) writing their CAR examples, and (b) focusing
so much on accomplishments, since this activity often feels to them like selfcongratulatory back-patting. The value of working with an experienced career
coach to overcome these two barriers cannot be overestimated.
Fourth and finally, there is an issue also mentioned earlier that, based on the
Gallup Organizations research, many competencies may not be trainable
or, can not be developed by an individual, no matter their level of personal
effort. Suffice it to say here that a good career coach will do a great service to
individual career clients by seriously focusing on the idea of position or career
field fit in light of their current competencies, while advising them to be
cautious about attempting to develop competencies that might not be
developable.
Summary
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The key purposes of this article were to:


1. Define and illustrate the use of the terms competencies, competency
mapping and top competencies
2. Describe how competencies relate to individual career development
3. Explain why individuals should go to the effort of mapping their
competencies
4. Describe how competency-based interviewing and selection work
5. Recommend a series of steps for individuals to use in doing
competency mapping, with the assistance of an experienced career
coach or counselor
6. Highlight the challenges that will be faced by individuals who want to
map their competencies

The Six-Step Approach to Competency Mapping for Individuals was


presented. The Approach includes the completion of the following steps:
1. Find and locate relevant competency resources.
2. Identify the individuals current competencies and determine their top
competencies.
3. Define the top competencies using behaviors the individual has
demonstrated in the past.
4. For each key behavior, list past performance examples.
5. Prepare verbal explanations of the examples, using the CAR Model.
6. Use the top competencies and key behavioral examples to write or
revise resumes.
A significant advantage of mapping ones competencies has to do with using
them for future development planning. Development planning in
organizations spans a continuum from not-done-at-all to very informal to
very formal processes. Larger organizations that do practice the use of
more formal development planning tend to have competency models and
competency assessment tools, from which individuals and their managers
craft future development plans. In some organizations, those development
plans are part of the organizations performance management process. In
other organizations, development plans are completed confidentially,
separate from performance management, for the individuals own career
development benefit.

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No matter how formal or informal and organizations practices are regarding


development planning, the important idea for the individual is to map his or
her top competencies that are important to their future career passion and
success. From among those top competencies, the individual needs to
identify their current competency strengths, and also their future competency
development needs. Great care needs to be given to crafting a development
plan that puts equal or greater weight on using ones competency strengths,
rather than upon expending too many personal or other resources on trying
to develop competency weaknesses into competency strengths. High levels
of energy and motivation tend to surface for individuals who are focusing on
better, more substantial uses of their competency strengths.
Significant competency weaknesses do need to be managed around
through the use of such methods as delegating, partnering, and some
personal modification of behaviors. This will require some planning on the
part of the individual, and can be a very valuable part of development
discussions with ones manager, mentor, or career coach. But an approach
that focuses on fixing weaknesses and building them into strengths tends
to create a mindset of only grim determination, for both the individual and
his/her manager/mentor/coach. This tends to sap energy from the individual
that could otherwise be positively deployed in the arena of developing and/or
better using current competency strengths. Competency mapping is a
powerful and potent tool for making concrete and recognizable the
employable assets that any individual brings into their career. Mapping ones
competency strengths might be one of the most powerful self-marketing tools
available to both individuals and organizational talent management
professionals today.

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