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Making Competencies Exciting


We're in the process of designing a competencies framework that will be used within a 360 feednback process and a management development programme. We're going through a transformational organisational change at present, and the framework is designed to help us to identify the important behaviours we'd like to emphasise as part of that change. Managers have been involved in the design of the framework, but I'm now trying to think of ways in which we can introduce it to a large number of managers in a way that will excite them about the future - bearing in mind that some may see it as a threat. Any ideas, anyone?
Lesley-Anne Bealey

11 Responses

  1. Exciting competencies!
    I think presentation is the key to making any 360 degree feedback review exciting. Making it clear, simple and easy to use is key to getting buy-in from managers. If the feedback comments are kept annonymous, managers will get excited by their chance to be honest, open and candid in their feedback. They will see value in the process because their opinions count.

    How are you going to collate all the information? I think it is important to get whoever is administering the process excited as well. Making it a process with as little admin burden as possible.

    Have you considered using an online 360 degree feedback tool? We have an online tool that will enable you to gather the 360 degree feedback, and monitor the process from one page. This will ensure a transition from a paper-pushing exercise to a slick and easy to administer online tool.

    Please see and for more information.

  2. Passion for competency frameworks
    One of the things I have found effective is to identify some “issues” that managers frequently struggle with, and show how the comp framework facilitates the management of tose issues – ie; have you ever felt frustrated about people who aren’t proactive, but you can’t articulate it? Here is how the competency framework addresses this area…….

    Otherwise, I echo the other comment about presentation and ease of use. Its a big topic area and you might want to talk through. Ring anytime on 07884070466

  3. Thanks for your ideas so far
    Thank you both, for your helpful comments. As you suggest, it’s potentially huge.
    We have identified an online tool that we can use, and we are going to introduce it as part of our revised appraisal process along with facilitated feedback. I’m thinking along the lines of an introductory session to introduce the whole idea to managers (some of whom will probably be fairly sceptical). Your comments are starting to get my creative bits really working!

  4. Competencies and excitement!

    I have just been through the process from explaining competencies right through to revising appraisal and introducing 360 degree questionnaires. I agree that whilst never exciting in themselves, the practical uses of them for managers is a major selling point if explained clearly. The other factor you may want to consider which we have also just done, is to consider having a performance management policy which sets the standards required including the competencies. This is then a reference and reminder to managers on how to use them.

    Steve Bilton

  5. Make it creative and fun
    I once used a fun icebreaker to introduce the idea of competences – which do seem to scare and/or bore people. It’s too long to describe here but I can give you details if you email me.

  6. Bigger Picture
    Hi Lesley-Anne. I’ve introduced competency frameworks to two organisations and advised on many others. I have found the most effective way to engage your audience (skeptical or not) is to introduce the framework in the context of the larger organisational change that is underway. Sharing the long term vision for the organisation and showing how the behaviours detailed in the framework will help achieve this together with their own personal goals, allows individuals to see how their work affects the bigger picture. Happy to talk through my experiences. Regards Tony M.D.

  7. Take it slow, and ensure backing from the top

    All the advice offered here is good. Anthony’s point about the big picture is crucial for the reasons he points out, and also because it demonstrates that competencies are not going to go away.

    Steve’s point about linking them to performance management is good, too. Again, this makes the point that this is a part of larger picture.

    That’s a lot of ‘stick’, and the key to getting manager buy-in is ‘carrot’. The key to this is value – as Debbie says. The best people to tell you the value they perceive in your competencies is the managers who helped you set them up.

    Having been involved in competency frameworks in a variety of ways (including implementation) for the past 6 years, I would only add two things.

    First, be prepared to play the long game, and definitely don’t over-promise on value. That way, every achievement can be positive.

    Second, get as much executive sponsorship as possible. Nobody really likes having to do something on top of their day job (which is how an implementation of competencies is often perceived). All the successful implementations I have seen have had enough drive from the top to keep things going when involvement lagged.

    To know more, feel free to mail me, or you could visit my blog,, where I have just finished a four-parter on competencies.

    Best of luck with your work,


  8. Good Luck!
    Lets face it, there is nothing terribly exciting about implementing competencies. It is a long, time consuming and tideous process, and asking managers to proactively participate can be challenging. From my experience, you should have consulted all the managers when developing the framework. That way you get their buy-in and give them the opportunity to give feedback. Get them involved in the process. The bottom line is you will need to show them how this framework will bring positive outcomes for them and their staff. I also agree with the below of integrating this into your Performance Appraisal system and or Career Development. Good Luck!

  9. Thanks again
    Thanks for all the helpful advice and comments from everyone. This is great! The activities provided are very, very helpful.Some of the comments have pointed to the things we should do to make sure the whole thing is set up well, and it’s useful to know that we’ve worked along the right lines and the approach we’ve used is endorsed by people in the field. I am now looking forward to continuing this work in the new year, so I’d like to offer my best wishes a hope for a prosperous new year to all contributors.

  10. use the verb
    In the civil service we have had competencies for a number of years, and each year we train unenthusiastic managers! I ask the managers to list the competencies from memory, a feat in it’s self. Then, either as 1 group or in smaller syndicates I ask them to describe each one, inevitably they list tasks, and functions. But keep asking the question “HOW” to get down to a description the behaviours/verbs! This exercise turns the descriptions into more real examples that managers can readily remember.

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