THECOMPETENCIESPOCKETBOOKBy Roger MillsDrawings by Phil Hailstone"Clear, concise and thought-provoking. Provides a logical step-by-step guide for decidingwhy and how to use competencies."June Isherwood, Head of Support Services, Nirex

Published by:Management Pocketbooks LtdLaurel House, Station Approach,Alresford, Hants SO24 9JH, U.K.Tel: 44 (0)1962 735573Fax: 44 (0)1962 733637E-mail: [email protected]: rights reserved. No part of this publicationmay be reproduced, stored in a retrievalsystem or transmitted in any form, or by anymeans, electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording or otherwise, withoutthe prior permission of the publishers.This edition published 2004. Roger Mills 2004.British Library Cataloguing-in-PublicationData – A catalogue record for this book isavailable from the British Library.ISBN 1 903776 25 2Design, typesetting andgraphics by efex ltd.Printed in U.K.CONTENTSINTRODUCTION/WHAT ARECOMPETENCIES?Definitions, difference betweenknowledge, skill and competency5WHY ORGANISATIONS USE13COMPETENCIESTo achieve consistency,communicate and raise performanceCOMPETENCY ORIGINS19AND THE FORMATS USEDTechnical, common and corecompetencies; examples of differentformatsDEVELOPING A COMPETENCYFRAMEWORKHow and by whom31

CONTENTSASSESSING COMPETENCIESBasic assessment and beyond39USING COMPETENCIES FORPERSONAL BENEFITClarifying roles, performancemanagement, training anddevelopment, 360 feedback,career planning, CPD45USING COMPETENCIES TO63BENEFIT THE ORGANISATIONRole definition, training needsanalysis, succession planning,change management, performancemeasurement, reward schemes,recruitmentWHY SOME COMPETENCYINITIATIVES DON’T WORKCompetency health check,reasons for failure83HOW TO MAKE SURE YOURCOMPETENCIES WORK!Three case histories, what tolook out for95COMPETENCIES AREIMPORTANT TO EVERYONEHow competencies helpindividuals progress109USING COMPETENCIES TOIMPROVE YOURSELF!Maintaining your marketabilityand enhancing your career117



INTRODUCTIONWHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOKThis pocketbook is about competencies: what they are and how to use them profitablyfor you and your organisation.You need to read it if:6GYou don’t know what competencies are but feel you shouldGYou’ve heard about competencies and want to know moreGYour organisation plans to use competencies but you are in the dark or anxiousGYou want to understand how competencies can help you in your work and careerGYour organisation uses competencies but you’re not clear how to use themGYou want to introduce competencies into your organisation and need to know howGYou are launching competencies and want a concise booklet to give out to staffGYour own competency scheme doesn’t work and you need to revive it!GYou see problems in your organisation and think that competencies could help

INTRODUCTIONLISTEN OUT FOR VERBAL CLUESIf, in yourorganisation,‘I’m not clear aboutwhat’s expectedyou hearfrom me’people saying ‘My manager setsridiculously highstandards comparedwith the others’‘My manager and Isaw things differentlyat my appraisal’‘My manager criticisedme unfairly; gave me reallyunfair ratings at myappraisal’‘Yes, we have acompany vision andvalues but theydon’t reallyaffect me’‘I can’t see afuture for me here; Idon’t feel I fit in’‘I can’tget my manager totalk seriously withme about mydevelopment’ then you might want to read this pocketbook to find out why.‘WhatmustI doto getpromotedaroundhere?’7

INTRODUCTIONFURTHER INDICATORSOr, if there are issues such as GCan’t get the right peopleGCan’t keep good people – they join but don’tstay longGManagers find appraisals difficult or embarrassing to doGTraining is unfocused or doesn’t deliver what’s neededGManagers are inconsistent in the way they treattheir peopleGPeople don’t buy in to the organisation’s vision and valuesGPeople are promoted but don’t perform the new jobas expected then, once again, you might want to read this pocketbookto get some ideas about dealing with them.8

INTRODUCTIONWHAT ARE COMPETENCIES?There has been much debate regarding the differences between competence, competencyand competent. The Oxford English Dictionary gives (among others) the definitions:Competent (adj) – having adequate skill, properly qualified, effective.for a task etc).Competence (and competency) (n) – power, ability, capacity (to do,However, in the 1970s David McClelland1 and Richard E. Boyatzis2 of US managementconsultants Hay-McBer carried out research that led to a more specific use of the termcompetency that is now widely used in business.1, 2– See Further Reading, page 1269

INTRODUCTIONDEFINITION OF (A) COMPETENCYThe most common definitions in recent years are:GAn underlying characteristic of an individual that is causally related tocriterion-referenced effective and/or superior performance in a job or situation(Spencer3 1993)GA characteristic and measurable pattern of behaviours, knowledge and skill thatcontributes to superior job performance (Dubois4 1993)Or, more simply put:A competency describes the behaviour or actions that can be seen when a job is beingdone well.3,410– See Further Reading, page 126

INTRODUCTIONTHE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KNOWLEDGE,SKILL AND COMPETENCYKnowledgeInformation that has to be learned and is recalled to carry out a job.Eg, a person can know how to use a particular piece of computersoftware – but not necessarily be able to do it.SkillThe application of that knowledge in a practical way to achieve a result.Eg, continuing the above example, the person may be able to use akeyboard and by doing so apply their knowledge of the software andproduce a document.CompetencyThe application of that skill in a way that results in work done to aspecified standard. Most importantly, the competency will be definedso that it includes a number of statements describing how well the jobmust be done.Eg, the person can use their knowledge and skill of the software toproduce a letter in the company format, with no mistakes and within agiven time.11



WHY ORGANISATIONS USE COMPETENCIESSUMMARY OF BENEFITSSome of the more cynical types say they use competencies ‘because it’s the fashionablething to do’ or ‘it’s the latest Human Resource fad’. However, the more enlightenedrecognise the benefits that both organisations and their people can gain by havingexpectations better explained.Most organisations that use competencies do so to help them:14GGet consistency in what they do across the organisationGMake sure people are treated equitablyGCommunicate with their peopleGImprove their stakeholder relationshipsGIdentify how they can improveGEstablish high standards of quality and performance

WHY ORGANISATIONS USE COMPETENCIESTO ACHIEVE CONSISTENCYOrganisations achieve consistency and equity oftreatment by:GMaking sure that any given competency isdefined in the same way across the wholeorganisationGHelping managers to interpret andassess their staff against the samedefined and agreed standardsGUsing competencies to underpin theirHuman Resource policies and proceduresGEncouraging their people to develop the rightcompetencies for success15

WHY ORGANISATIONS USE COMPETENCIESTO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELYOrganisations use competencies when communicating with their people by:GClarifying their expectations and the standards they wish to seeGDefining the company culture – ‘how we do things around here’GExplaining and communicating changeGCarrying out activities that train, develop and enable their people to perform wellGTranslating the organisation’s values into everyday actionsAnd they may use competencies to:16GGet feedback on how the company is performingGContribute to performance-related pay/reward systems

WHY ORGANISATIONS USE COMPETENCIESTO RAISE PERFORMANCEOrganisations use competencies to improve standards and raise companyperformance by:GIdentifying, developing and reinforcing the competencies that are delivering realbusiness performanceGImplementing competency assessments to identify strengths and weaknesses, andso make strategic decisionsGSurveying customers and staff about organisational performance, and therebymeasuring growth and progressGReinforcing the values of the organisation17

WHY ORGANISATIONS USE COMPETENCIESWHO ARE THE USERS?Users ofcompetenciesare widespreadand numerous,including those l ishmentsCharitiesand othernot-for-profitorganisationsLargeand smallorganis(50,00 ations0 to utionsandSocietiesPrivatecompaniesand PLCs


COMPETENCY ORIGINS AND THE FORMATS USEDTHE ORIGIN OF COMPETENCIESWays of assessing people and their performance go back(some claim) as far as Roman times. Since then moresophisticated ways have been developed, especially bythe military (War Office Selection Boards in the1940s). Assessment centres and developmentcentres have been used ever since for seeking outthose people with certain qualities or attributes.However, the generally recognised founders of themodern competency movement were David McClellandand Richard E. Boyatzis who worked for US-basedmanagement consultants Hay-McBer.Others have since further developed competencies and theyare now a widely used business tool.20

COMPETENCY ORIGINS AND THE FORMATS USEDTHE ORIGIN OF COMPETENCIESCompetencies have broadly developed in two ways:GMuch of the work in the US has concentrated on identifying the competenciesdisplayed by superior performers – the purpose being to recognise theircompetencies and select, train or otherwise develop others to emulate theirbehaviourGIn the UK, competencies were applied in a major way in the development ofstandards for main occupational groups – the principal outcome of which has beenthe development of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)This led to differing philosophies depending on which approach was preferred. The UKmodel focuses on defining a minimum standard to be achieved, whilst the US modeldefines what a superior performer would do. Both are legitimate systems and either maybe adopted according to the organisation’s objectives.21

COMPETENCY ORIGINS AND THE FORMATS USEDDIFFERENT TYPES OF COMPETENCYDepending on its purpose and preferences, an organisation may create a set ofcompetencies (collectively known as a competency framework) using a number ofdifferent types of competency. Typically it might contain:Core competenciesThose that support the declared mission and values, and are usually applicable to alljobs in the organisation.Common competenciesThose other (non-core) competencies with a common definition, for use in certain jobsacross the whole organisation (eg, influencing, strategic awareness, leadership).Technical or job-specific competenciesThose that are applicable to a particular group or ‘family’ of jobs (eg, territory planning,software programming).Some organisations only use core competencies, others use core and common,and yet others use all three types.22

COMPETENCY ORIGINS AND THE FORMATS USEDWHAT COMPETENCIES LOOK LIKEThe format or appearance of a competency will depend on many factors – what type it is,how many competencies there are in the framework, the individual preference of thewriter etc.Some competencies are very simple in their layout and others are quite detailed. Thecommon factors in any competency format are:GThe title or label for the competency (eg, teamwork, customer focus, creativity)GA number of statements or behavioural indicators that explain what the desiredperformance or effective behaviour looks likeAnd there will usually be:GA brief definition of what the label means – it may be a generic definition or onecreated by, and specific to, the organisation23

COMPETENCY ORIGINS AND THE FORMATS USEDWHAT A SIMPLE COMPETENCY LOOKS LIKETitle: TeamworkDefinition: This competency concerns the effective and supportive relationships within ateam and how the members work together to achieve common goals.Behavioural indicators (of effective behaviour):GEstablishes and maintains good working relationships; is co-operative and helpswhen neededGActively contributes; gets involved; volunteersGRespects the effort and time of others; is punctual for meetingsGShares own knowledge and expertise to help othersGAsks for help from other team members when necessaryGListens to colleagues and recognizes their knowledge and skillIs this what competences look like in your organisation? Perhaps they are a bit moredetailed 24

COMPETENCY ORIGINS AND THE FORMATS USEDMORE DETAILED FORMATSSome organisations will want to expand the amount of information included in thecompetency. For example:GNegative indicators: these show the sort of behaviourthat the organisation does NOT want to see(sometimes called ineffective behaviour)GOutstanding: these indicators show what extra aperson would need to be doing to be excellent oroutstanding in the competency; it often defines therole modelGLevels: where a group of jobs requires an increasingdegree of a competency as the ‘seniority’, responsibility orcomplexity level increases (NB This is not necessarily thesame as grade or level within the organisation structure)Whilst these may make a competency look complicated on firstinspection, they are only variations on the simple theme.25

COMPETENCY ORIGINS AND THE FORMATS USEDEXAMPLE 1A competency with negative and outstanding indicators may look like this:TeamworkDefinition: this concerns the effective and supportive relationships within a team andhow the members work together to achieve common goals.Indicators of effective behaviour:GGGGGGEstablishes and maintains good working relationships; is co-operative and helpswhen neededActively contributes; gets involved; volunteersRespects the effort and time of others; is punctual for meetingsShares own knowledge and expertise to help othersAsks for help from other team members when necessaryListens to colleagues and recognizes their knowledge and skillContinued26

COMPETENCY ORIGINS AND THE FORMATS USEDEXAMPLE 1Indicators of outstanding behaviour:GGenerates enthusiasm, team spirit and opportunities for colleagues to achieveresultsGAnticipates the needs of the team and makes arrangements accordinglyGAware of ’greater’ team and builds bridges and partnerships between functions;breaks down barriersGWill take the lead when necessary; ensures team members pull in same directionNegative indicators (or indicators of ineffective behaviour):GNot willing to be accountable; ducks outGIs insular, loner, not an active playerGArrogant; looks after own interestsGDisruptive, un-cooperative, unreliable, lets others downGHijacks success; allocates blameGNever volunteers27

COMPETENCY ORIGINS AND THE FORMATS USEDEXAMPLE 2A competency with more than one level might look like this:LeadershipDefinition: this concerns the ability to motivate and inspire others to achieve collectiveobjectives. It includes taking the initiative with colleagues, formulating goals andproviding purpose and direction.Level 1:GActs by example, is credible, has the respect of staffGIs approachable, gives time to staff and keeps them informedGResolves issues and disagreements that arise within the groupLevel 2 – as above, plus:GSets clear goals so that individual effort aligns with the overall aims of the teamGTakes calculated risks for the good of the teamGStyle of working enables others to excel and out-perform the standards normallyexpected28

COMPETENCY ORIGINS AND THE FORMATS USEDEXAMPLE 2Level 3 – as above, plus:GInspirational, conveys a passion and direction that instils pride and feeling ofsuccessGIs able to gain support from wide range of peopleGCan deliver bad news and still get good performanceNegative indicators:GFails to value the input of others, dismissive of ideas/suggestionsGHas little or no respect from others; makes derogatory remarks aboutmanagement, company, or colleaguesGMotivates by fear, is inconsistent or over-reactsGInconsistent in dealings with group members; has favourites or abuses positionof authority(In this example, the levels are cumulative with Level 1 as the base)29



DEVELOPING A COMPETENCY FRAMEWORKDO STANDARD COMPETENCIES EXIST?Answer: No! Although there are numerous sources of ‘ready-made’ competencies.Somewriters have publishedwhat they offer as a definitivelist of competencies sometimes referred to as acompetency librarySomecommercial organisationsmake their competenciesavailable to outsidersYOURCOMPETENCIESOr, develop competencies that arespecific and unique to your organisation32Others,such as professionalorganisations andgovernment, also publishtheir competencies

DEVELOPING A COMPETENCY FRAMEWORKWHY MOST ORGANISATIONS PREFER TODESIGN THEIR OWNWhilst it is tempting to use competencies that are freely available from these ready-madesources, most successful organisations will prefer to develop their own framework andtailor their own competencies because:GThey want to use language that suits their organisation’s cultureGUsing competencies designed by someone else may lead the organisation in thewrong directionGEvery organisation is different and works in different ways. What suits one may notsuit another. Each organisation must identify the right competencies for themGThey wish to develop a competitive advantage by developing and using their ownunique competenciesThey will decide for themselves which ones are important, what detail they will go into,the format to use and the detailed indicators they contain.33

DEVELOPING A COMPETENCY FRAMEWORKDEVELOPING COMPETENCIESDevelopment of a competency frameworkshould start with a clear understanding of:GWhy the organisation wants a competencyframework and how it will be usedGWho is going to manage the project andwho else will be involved (a steering groupor working party might be appropriate)GWhat methodology to useGHow to communicate with everyone, bothduring the design and the roll-out phasesAnd most importantly:GHow committed the top team are to theproject34

DEVELOPING A COMPETENCY FRAMEWORKDEVELOPING COMPETENCIESThere is no hard and fast rule for designing eitherthe framework or the competency definitionsand indicators. Whoever is managing theproject, whether an individual or aworking party/steering group, will needto become conversant with the subjectand help guide many of the decisions.By their very nature, certain types ofcompetency will need to be decidedand defined by different people. Forexample, core competencies mustbe developed with the intimateinvolvement of the top team (boardof directors, governors, trustees etc).35

DEVELOPING A COMPETENCY FRAMEWORKDEVELOPING COMPETENCIES – HOW?Several techniques are used to develop the framework and define the competencies.The principal methods favoured by specialists are:Structured interviews using one or more specialised techniques:GThe repertory grid interview is often used to determine what the most significantcompetencies areGBehavioural event interview or critical incident interview may be used both todetermine the critical competencies and then to define the behavioural indicatorsOr group methods:GFocus groups which may be specified (top team, high performers, particular jobholders) or a representative sample (‘diagonal slice’, volunteers or randomlyselected)GGroup debate, usually to review outputs and make decisionsDetails of each of these can be found in various textbooks or via the internet.36

DEVELOPING A COMPETENCY FRAMEWORKDEVELOPING COMPETENCIES – WHO?The success or failure of a competency framework often starts at the design stage, oreven earlier. To ensure later credibility, as many people as possible should be involved inthe process. Whether at the initial design, review or trialling applications, the more peoplewho have an input to the process the better will be the support at implementation.A typical competency development project will have a number of stages that will allowwide involvement:GInitial concept and agreement must involve the top teamGA project manager and steering group will involve, say, 6-12 people from across theorganisationGDeveloping competencies should involve many people, especially if job-specificcompetencies are to be part of the frameworkGAny output from the design process will need to be reviewed and trialled. Thesefurther stages give opportunities for even more people to become involved37

DEVELOPING A COMPETENCY FRAMEWORKDEVELOPING COMPETENCIES – WHO?A typical approach for an organisation might be:38Type ofcompetencyWho isinvolvedHowTrialling andrefiningRoll-outThe frameworkProject manager,steering groupand top teamResearch, takingadvice and groupdiscussionCross-section ofemployeesTo all employeesCoreTop teammembersStructuredinterviews andgroup discussionCross-section ofemployeesTo all employeesCommonCross-section ofemployeesFocus groupsFurther crosssection groupsTo all employeesJob-specificGroup of highperforming jobholdersInterviews and/orfocus groupsOther selected jobholdersRemaining jobholdersVariousapplicationsProject manager,steering groupand cross-sectionof employeesResearch, takingadvice and groupdiscussionFurther crosssection groupsRemaining jobholders


ASSESSING COMPETENCIESWHY IS ASSESSMENT NECESSARY?In most of the applications on the later pages, there is a requirement for some form ofassessment of the individual’s competence. This is so that the individual (or theirmanager, coach, mentor) can identify the gap between the defined (expected) behaviourand what they have actually done or are doing.Assessment is not always easy.One of the difficulties of any assessment process is to maintain objectivity. In appraisals,for example, the most frequent source of dissatisfaction is when subjective judgementsare required (and disputed).Good, bad, satisfactory, unsatisfactory, marks out of , A to E, fair and poor – these are allratings that appear in many appraisal schemes and rely on a personal interpretation ofwhat is expected.40

ASSESSING COMPETENCIESWHY IS ASSESSMENT NECESSARY?By using competencies much progress can be made towards defining more clearlyexactly what is expected (or how the individual should be performing).By their very nature (ie, defining the behaviours) competencies clearly illustrate inobservable* terms what is expected of the individual.Thus, the assessment becomes aprocess of comparing theindividual’s actual behaviourwith the behavioural indicatorsshown in the appropriatecompetency.* Observable includes: byinterview, discussion, visibleevidence, inspection,observed behaviour and writtenmaterial.41

ASSESSING COMPETENCIESTHE BASIC ASSESSMENTBy comparing the actual behaviour with the behavioural indicators the assessmentamounts to an individual answering the basic question:G‘Do I consistently demonstrate this competency in my daily work?’If not, they are probably inconsistent in the way they demonstrate it because:GThey do only some of the indicators all of the time, orGThey do all of the indicators but only some of the time!Either way, they might wish to do something to change! This might mean getting somemore specific feedback, concentrating a bit more on how they work, or getting sometraining or development.42

ASSESSING COMPETENCIESTHE BASIC ASSESSMENTEven with clearly defined competencies and behavioural indicators, personal judgementcannot be eliminated entirely.It is tempting for both the job holder and the manager to use the indicators as a checklist and to check off each one individually and add up the numbers of ticks and crosses.This is misleading. Going back to the origins of competency design, it is clear that thebehavioural indicators are only that – indicators! The list is not exhaustive; it simplyshows a range of typical behaviours that a person might do to demonstrate thecompetency. There are other things they might do as well as or instead of those.The indicators should be viewed as a guide (not absolute) and as a collection or basketof behaviours typical of that competency.43

ASSESSING COMPETENCIESBEYOND THE BASIC ASSESSMENTSome assessment schemes go beyond the basic question, especially those that havenegative and/or outstanding indicators in the format.Even so, the assessment is still fundamentally the same. The indicators are used toidentify not only how a person compares with the expected indicatorsbut also if they are doing some of the outstanding or negativebehaviours. If they are, their assessment might be swayed upor down accordingly.Again, the indicators should be seen as guidance and asbaskets of typical behaviours, not as a definitive check-list.People who exceed expectations or performoutstandingly in certain competencies may be valuableas role models, coaches or mentors to others in theorganisation.Too much negative behaviour might undermine or negatethe good things you have done!44


USING COMPETENCIES FOR PERSONAL BENEFITCOMMON USESOrganisations use competencies in a variety of ways – some are focused on theindividual and some are used to support the organisation’s corporate Human Resourceand general management procedures.The most common uses that directly benefit individuals are:46GCompetency profiles in or alongside job descriptions or role profiles to define whatis expected of job holdersGTo review performance in the appraisal processGTo assess individual training and development needsGIn 360 feedback processes to provide insights into personal performanceGIn career development planningGProfessional development – CPD

USING COMPETENCIES FOR PERSONAL BENEFITCLARITY OF A PERSON’S ROLEMost organisations provide their employees with job descriptions, role profiles or similardocuments that explain what is expected of them in terms of responsibilities or duties.What is often left unspecified is the standard towhich the role should be performed.The required standard is often left open tointerpretation, and the first time an individualknows there is a difference between theirinterpretation and their manager’s, is whensomething goes wrong!To help people understand and perform as theirorganisation expects, issue a competencyprofile for their job. This will help them tounderstand exactly how they need to performto be successful.47

USING COMPETENCIES FOR PERSONAL BENEFITCLARITY OF A PERSON’S ROLEEXAMPLE OF A COMPETENCY PROFILEleCompetency profi Job sCore competencieCommunicationCustomer focusTeamworkWorking safely Job holder )ncies (as requiredCommon competeInfluencingawarenessCost and financial)ncies (as requiredTechnical competed analysisData collection anyInformation securitgTechnical authorin48 Date prepared Level expectedLevel 2Level 1Level 2Level 2Level expectedLevel 2Level 1Level expectedLevel 3Level 2Level 2The profile then enables cross-reference to the company’s competency definitions and levels.

USING COMPETENCIES FOR PERSONAL BENEFITCLARITY OF A PERSON’S ROLEThe competency profile also helps the person’s manager to be fair and equitable whenhe or she is reviewing performance.Together with the competency definitions, itgives the standard expected and prompts adiscussion about how the individual hasperformed by comparison. It should also helpto resolve problems where some managersmay be more demanding than others inwhat they expect from their staff.Consistent standards andexpectations are obtained by usingthe same competency profile for thesame jobs across an organisation.49

USING COMPETENCIES FOR PERSONAL BENEFITPERFORMANCE MANAGEMENTCompetencies assist in the review of performance when integrated into the performancemanagement and appraisal process.By assessing a person’s performance against the required competencies for their job, anorganisation can help its people in a number of ways:50GBy understanding the competencies required at the outset, they will know what is expectedof them and so there should be no surprise concerning standards at appraisal timeGCompetencies underpin, support and contribute to job performance. By assessingcompetencies as well as actual achievements in the job, people can get betterfeedback and can then perform better in the futureGDifficulties of inconsistency and subjectivity can be reduced by working with clearlydefined competenciesGPeople are assessed on the actions and behaviour that make a real difference in theirjobs (not on their manager’s pet practices or beliefs; nor on personality)In the absence of a competency framework, individuals and managers often struggle to identifythe exact cause of performance shortcomings. Competencies provide a valuable clue.

USING COMPETENCIES FOR PERSONAL BENEFITTRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT NEEDSMost organisations using competencies will do so to identify individual training anddevelopment needs.In assessing a person’s performance against the desired competencies, a developmentgap may be identified in one or more areas. It is then possible to identify what actionsthe person might take (or what training to undergo) in order to overcome:GA direct cause of underperformance in their job, orGAn underlying cause of difficultyAlternatively, it can be used to help the individual to exceed the standards expected byidentifying:GWhat he or she can do to excel in the competency and, potentially, become a rolemodelGWhat competencies to develop for future roles in the organisationTypically, these development gaps will form the basis of a personal development plan.51


This pocketbook is about competencies: what they are and how to use them profitably for you and your organisation. You need to read it if: You don't know what competencies are but feel you should You've heard about competencies and want to know more Your organisation plans to use competencies but you are in the dark or anxious