Integrated Competence

To create a hierarchy of competence, we have to understand the nature of competence. “I will know it when I see it” is not really helpful. Elliott defined these four things as absolute requirements for success in a role, any role, no matter the discipline.

  • Capability
  • Skill
  • Interest, passion
  • Required behaviors

Competence is the integration of these four factors. If we want to build a hierarchy of competence, we have to understand each and what that integration looks like.

Capability and Skill
Competence is a combination of Capability and Skill. If I do not have the capability for the work, no amount of skills training (technical knowledge and practice) will be helpful. And, if I don’t have the skill, you will never see my capability. Competence is a combination of both.

Interest and Passion
Interest and passion for the work will influence the amount of time for practice. The more interested I am, the more time I will spend in practice. And if I don’t practice a skill, the skill goes away, competence goes away. Practice arrives with many qualities, frequency of practice, duration of practice, depth of practice, accuracy of practice.

Required Behaviors
Something as simple as showing up for work on time is a required behavior. I may have the capability, skill and passion, but if I don’t show up for work, competence is invisible.

Desperately Seeking Competence
Building a competence hierarchy begins at the individual level.  It’s a basic building block. Competence must be identified, selected, developed, improved and practiced. For competence to flourish, it must be placed within a hierarchy where the value, the energy and the flow is based on competence.

One thought on “Integrated Competence

  1. Kelly Schaefbauer

    As you move up the hierarchy in an organization, competence seems to become more broad. These higher strata positions are dealing with the aggregate to the mission. Let say there’re at strata V. How far down the strata should they have knowledge on? Do they need to know about KRAs? Do they need to understand the specifics of tasks?


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