Competence Development – The Art of Matching Strategy with People
Coming up with a set of powerpoint slides that describes a new strategy is the easy bit. Even the work going into defining the strategy and maturing the ideas is fairly stragiht forward. The real work begins when defining what competencies are required to realize the strategy and how to develop those competencies.
Defining the competencies required to realize a strategy comes down to matching the organizational capability today with that of the future. In this, competence development is only one aspect (apart from organizational structure, processes, and reward systems).
Whether your strategy defines new products or services to be developed, or new markets to be targeted, the competencies required for success will need to be defined and honed. Sure, one can always hire new talent and boost the organization through organic growth. Often, this leads to an increase in cost, reduction in quality and challenged staff. Ensuring a cultural fit is equally important in enabling strategy deployment, and once in a while you have to develop existing staff in order to make things happen.
Developing the people in the organization will do more than one thing. First of all, it will allow you to motivate and retain the talent already in your organization, creating new opportunities and allow for personal development. Secondly, betting on existing staff will give you more flexibility and reduce the cultural barriers of hiring new people. Off course, the down side becomes covering the work that these people are doing today, and how that can be done effectively.
Designing a competence development package with a risk mitigation perspective gives you the right overview on what decisions may optimize your success. This will also allow you to evaluate potential new-comers in the light of multiple options. One great possibility here is to involve the existing people in these decisions, enhancing the commitment and buy-in for the new strategic direction.
This approach will allow your company to focus on the new strategy, without a cultural compromise, retaining existing talent and attracting new people to join the success. This is one option in deploying competence development as a strategic enabler.
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