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Banff Centre Competency Matrix Model

The Role of Competencies in Leader Development Background The core of The Banff Centre leadership learning is our unique competency mapping process, which links to our online 360 Degree Assessment feedback system. At The Banff Centre, we believe that the three basic requirements of successful leadership are knowledge, competency and character. According to the most current research, some of the most successful leaders consistently apply all three of these areas of expertise in order to make them highly effective.

In addition to keeping current on the rapidly changing knowledge that is required to do their jobs well, leaders also require the character capacity to know what is the right thing to do, have the courage to act, and to operate with integrity and trust. In order to truly be effective, leaders must have the tools (competencies) to create the kinds of actions that lead to sustainable success. The Banff Centre Competency Matrix The Banff Centre Competency Matrix contains 24 competencies grouped evenly into 6 Leadership Dimensions, including Self Mastery, Futuring, Sense Making, Design of Intelligent Action, Aligning People to Action and Adaptive Learning. The four competencies that reside inside each of the six Dimensions (24 in total) define a set of related actions that, when executed by a leader with intention, create a specific outcome. Each competency is made up of observable skills that can be learned. Like any skill, practice and feedback are necessary. Some skills take longer than others to acquire. We view leadership as a lifelong journey. The specific skills represented by these 24 competencies constitute the essentials of leadership. By the essentials we mean those primary skills that can be combined and recombined to handle the majority of challenges faced by leaders today. We have grouped these primary skills into the 24 definable competencies to show function and purpose, choosing dimension names that best describe the groupings of these competencies. Periodically we make adjustments and changes to the skills and competencies to reflect the evolution of changing demands on leaders. Leadership Dimensions A dimension is a broad category containing 4 essential competencies. Leadership dimensions are used to distinguish related competencies and place them into sets or groupings. The competencies within a dimension have a commonality in that they all support the same activity but in different ways. For example, the dimension of SelfMastery contains competencies required to understand oneself as a leader, the inner work of being a leader. The dimension of Aligning People to Action contains competencies required to engage others and have them work towards a goal. Dimensions partition the ground of leader development into broad categories of essential behaviours. Together they tend to both cover the field and change, although slowly, as new demands are placed on leaders. Leadership Competencies Although there are various definitions of competency, all of them include the description of a competency as a set of skills required for taking effective action. The skills are important, as is the knowledge of when to use them and when not to. Competencies define a set of actions that must be learned and executed in a way that creates a chosen outcome. If a leader is competent in Strategic Foresight then the leader can consistently

consider and work with a range of possible futures. It is likely that the leader can read current trends and identify the impact on their organization, create clear images of the future, and use processes such as scenario planning to build a compelling vision for a preferred future. Competencies, then, are workable groupings of skills that fulfil a purpose and / or provide a specific function. Leadership Skills Skills are defined sets of acts that have a specific effect or accomplish a specific task. Often skills will suggest a certain sequence of action that needs to be taken for the tasks to be completed. Sometimes skills can be used in a variety of orders or combinations to accomplish a related task. Skills can be combined and recombined to deal with a number of demands and situations. Skills can also be combined and recombined to create new competencies. The action of identifying specific behaviours for observation by others could also be used in another competency such as performance management where this skill would be very useful. It makes sense that the more skills that can be learned the more adaptable and able the leader is to address a greater variety of situations. The skills are the basic building blocks of leader development.