Specialists? No thanks, we just want generalists.

Now, here’s a thing.  Once upon a time, we used to hunt out specialists, often put them through fairly rigorous tests and then really value their specialisms within our companies.  Now we hunt out specialists and, within minutes of their arrival in our companies, hand them a competency framework and tell them that they will be appraised on all ten areas.  

And here’s a second thing.  Most organisations, according to the CIPD, either have a competency framework or are planning to introduce one, and either create it in-house or in-house with the help of external consultants.  What they produce is more than 80% generic.  So they have probably wasted enormous amounts of money developing something which they could have found on the internet in seconds and adapted in an hour to appear to relate to their own organisations.

So now we have specialists who aren’t allowed to specialise, working to competency frameworks which are so generalised that most companies are using almost the same one.  Is it me or is there something deeply flawed in the logic here?

Take a look around your organisation, pick anyone at random and try to remember what made you want to hire them at the outset.  If it was anything more than their decorative appearance, then probably they had something of real value to offer.  To what extent have you capitalised on their strengths, encouraged them to develop those strengths, shown recognition of their ability?  Or did you simply hand them a competency framework and tell them to report back at the next appraisal.

To discuss behavioural skills training, any other aspect of leadership and management development or business consultancy, call me on +44(0)161 929 4145 or email David Cotton.

I look forward to hearing from you.

David Cotton is an independent trainer, management consultant, facilitator and speaker with vast international experience.