Feeding the Talent Management Systems with Specific Process Performance Requirements – Not Generic Competencies

Talent Management…aka: Human Capital Management…and aka:
HAMS: Human Asset Management Systems.
I and my former business partners and colleagues started writing and presenting about our approach to what is now known as Talent Management back in the late 1980s.
Our performance-based methodology led us naturally there. We have always been about the people in the processes…and the processes need for people with certain competencies, attributes and values.
The book that my business partner (1982-1997) Ray Svenson, Karen Kennedy and I wrote in 1994, “The Quality Roadmap” addressed our thinking at that time. It was intended by us to be a “blend” between the TQM world and the HPT world…Total Quality Management meets Human Performance Technology. And how HPT can support the TQM movement by handling the People component in the process…the human assets needed by the process…and the Human Asset Management Systems needed to “provision” the right people with the right stuff to the right processes at the right time…at the right cost.

More recently I’ve been writing a quarterly column at Business Process Trends…at: http://www.bptrends.com/

…on EPPI – Enterprise Process Performance Improvement – which first reviews and assesses the Process against the stakeholder requirements, AND then reviews/assesses the adequacy of the human assets against requirements, and then the environmental assets against requirements. And improvement planning starts after that quick but rigorous upfront effort.

The model and methodology of EPPI drive the requirements for the Human Assets not by the popular but ineffectual Competencies (mostly generic and undifferentiated from your competitors) but by the specific requirements for:
  • Performance Competence…ability to perform tasks to produce “Outputs to Stakeholder Requirements and Desires”
  • Enabling Competencies…of enabling awareness/knowledge/skills
  • Enabling Attributes…including enabling Physical, Psychological and Intellectual
  • Personal Values…including ethics, morals, and personal beliefs/truths


If you are interested in more…see my “Management Areas of Performance” PDF book, available soon at http://www.eppic.biz/ and the Blog and the Podcasts already available! The book provides a guide for first defining a management job (or jobs) in terms of…

  • Performance Competence
  • Enabling Competencies
  • Enabling Attributes
  • Personal Values

…and then assessing against those specifics…not against generic competencies…and then planning for prioritized, targeted development.

Validated Competencies

I’ve been hearing people tell me that they’ve got “validated competencies” since 1989…when a client in the T&D function had been handed a million dollar, validated set of competencies and told to restructure their training offerings to support this.

They had been a “performance-based T&D function” and they just couldn’t see easily how to turn these general statements with tons and tons of “face validity” into performance enabling content.

The acid test I learned to explain regarding this conundrum was to imagine IF these competencies also applied to the competition. That would help set the stage for the difficulty job of “backing into” the performance context…such as performing tasks to produce outputs that meet stakeholder requirements…and desires…IF we can and need to to stay competitive now and into our future.

And then we’d have to go through an elaborate process to “back into” these “competencies” – into specific performance, for specific performers in their specific performance contexts, so that we might train people to really be able to perform in their real world…and not the general construct world that produced these seemingly valid “competencies.” How is it that the process used to generate these never was informed by the specifics of the processes of the Enterprise?

I know that “Time Management” isn’t a competency that you’d find articulated at a corporate level…but stay with me for a moment…

…and imagine that it is a “competency” listed somewhere in the mix.

Can we all agree that ALMOST everyone in the Enterprise needs “Time Management” skills, or “Verbal and Written Communications” skills, or “Personal Interaction” skills…

But then…are they the same for the Sales Director in the regional offices, or for the Sales Manager out in the territories monitoring and coaching their staff about 50% of the time, or for the Sales Rep who is on-the-road-almost all of time?

I think that they are all specifically different, with some foundational pieces that might be shared. Here the performance is different and the enabling skills are somewhat different.

But Guy!!! Each of the three skills listed IS INDEED needed by each of the three audiences.

Ah- is that make them valid? That we can definitely link them back and forth to audiences and/or processes? Well then – so much for “face validity.”

This level of un-scrutinized face validity just might lead our stakeholders to oversimplify all of this BECAUSE IT IS CHEAPER AND EVERYONE LIKES/PREFERS THAT and then they’ll really expect us to build a bunch of competency-driven instructional content AND have it be effective. Yikes!

How is it going in your world?

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