Does anyone have any experience with a "Universal Competency Framework" based on profiler cards?


I have been invited to participate in a focus group that will discuss my organization's transition into a Universal Competency Framework.  The objective is to "create a single competency framework for the organization".  However, based on my review of the literature, it seems like a job description building exercise instead of a behavioral change model.

How will this work? 

It is based on cards to result in "concrete, tangible outcomes"

Because it is cards, it is "portable"

There are 8 Factor Cards (with diffferent colored backgrounds) - these represent broad competency areas

There are 20 dimension cards (detailed breakdown of 8 factor cards)- used for person or job profiling 

The directions make it sound like a card game in order to identify strengths and weaknesses.

Unfortunately, there is no reference to DISC, relationship building, feedback or one on ones....

I haven't participated in the video conference yet, but do not have positive reaction to this initiative because it does not seem to allow the kinds of change that the organization requires.  Some things just jump out at me, like

- the Competency Framework "establishes the common language that underpins all of the XXX products and services".

- the key behaviors are based on "extensive scientific research" which looked at hundreds of competency models..."

If anyone has had any experience with this type of system, I would appreciate feedback.



wendii's picture
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I have seen this - I did by psychometric testing training with SHL and I went to a show and tell for this product when they brought it out.

I'm not big fan of competency frameworks, and this system just makes something difficult to do well fun. Fun, unfortunately, is not synonomous with effective.

It's far better to work out what you want done in a job, and then ask behavioural questions to establish whether or not the person has the skills and experience to do those things. Simpler too.


stephenbooth_uk's picture

 I've not got experience of that particular framework but I have seen others, indeed I landed up writing one. 

The company I work for was looking to introduce competency frameworks for projects/consultancy staff.  The idea was that when a new role came in it would be scored against the framework and the people with the best fit would be put forward.  An external consultant had written one for us, based on SFIA, but it had some problems.  As I was between roles at the time I was given the task of updating it to remove the problems.  The main problem was that it didn't really fit many of the roles we had.  My updates were mostly rejigging some elements and finding suitable frameworks for the bits that weren't covered by SFIA.  I did have to invent my own framework for some roles for which there wasn't an existing suitable framework.

Scoring people against the framework wasn't too difficult as it was structured not unlike a series of behavioural interview questions, a skill would be described and then the person would be asked to describe a situation where they had used that skill.  They and their line manager would then judge what level that skill was at (on a 1 to 5 scale).  Two things killed it.  The role specifications were often quite imprecise so it was hard to judge where a it sat in terms of level required (this was one of the reasons the framework was first developed).  A lot of staff (inparticular those on long term assignments) and their managers just didn't bother to complete the process and some had enough 'political' connections to get away with not doing it.  Now we just use regular CVs.



Skype: stephenbooth_uk  | DiSC: 6137

"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack


DesmondJ's picture

Thank you Wendii and Stephen for your comments.

I participated in the focus group and tried to gather additional information.  I think the intent of the Organization to roll out Behavioral Indicators for interviewing processes and job description development is actually a step in the right direction.  It seems that the primary objective of the system, at least at this point, was to identify five or six primary competitencies that would be applied across the organization.

Afterwards, I stayed to talk to the consultant for a few minutes about where this would take us, etc., and I mentioned a bunch of things that I've learned in the six months since I have been listening to the podcasts, such as:

Culture change happens one person at a time

One on one's are key (very few people in the organization talk to their staff - there are even complaints that our new performance evaluation process lacks this conversation)

Relationships are everything - keep away from emails


He said, and I quote, "where did you come from?"

thank you MT for making such a difference in how I think about management.