Since as a manager you are accountable for the results of your team, the burden is yours to ensure your team is capable of delivering. There are 3 key areas which must be evaluated in selecting or evaluating an individual as part of your team. PeopleFit calls this the Individual Capability Profile and PeopleFit Australasia published the icon below to represent the Individual Capability Profile.
Each side of the triangle is one of the key categories of an individual’s capability. I will discuss each one separately as a manager must consider each in their evaluation of new candidates for their team, and in the diagnostic process as performance issues arise.
Knowledge, Skills & Experience (KSE) is the first side of the triangle for my discussion. Unlike the other sides of the triangle, KSE is a common feature of most hiring processes today. A manager reviews and does due diligence on an individual’s background, including education and work history, to access KSE. The manager should have previously written a role description listing the minimum KSE requirements for the role. The term “minimum KSE requirements” is used since an individual will receive some training and coaching while on the job. There is often a wide range between the minimum requirements and reaching total proficiency or expert status in a role, however the minimum requirement may be impacted by the urgency for results and the time available for the manager to do mentoring and coaching.
Values, Preferences & Inhibitors (VPI) is another key category of an individual’s capability profile. Some people value certain types of work and not others. I have known some engineers who were eventually promoted to manager, however it was obvious they valued problem solving and technical work over dealing with people and people issues. Can you imagine why they were bad managers? Have you talked with a customer service person who acted like the problem was the customers? Or maybe a customer service person who acted like you were the only customer and was delight to resolve any issue for you? Some people prefer work involving relationships while others don’t prefer this type work. I like numbers but I would prefer not to do math for long periods. Therefore while I love my accountants but please don’t ask me to do an accountant’s role. I would probably estimate everything and my manager would be very frustrated about accuracy. A manager must consider preferences and inhibitors when evaluating an individual for a particular role.
Organizations have values just as we as individuals have values. I am speaking of those behaviors, principles, and/or attributes which we choose not to compromise and are a part of who we are. Dr Brian Hall and Richard Barrett have done excellent work and written much about organizational values if you want to study this point further. In any case, it is important to consider your organizational values and whether the individual values of an employee match the culture of the organization. For example, I could never work in a telemarketing group which valued high pressure sales pitches. My dad was a thoughtful and analytical buyer. Just ask some of the “used car” salesman which he sent angrily back to their office when he searched for a new car. What can I say, I learned it from him. Since I dislike high pressure sales my sales teams were always encouraged to build relationships with customers and solve their problems, not just lay some line on them. Do my values come through in this post? (No disrespect to telemarketers intended.)
One final comment about VPI. The values, preferences and inhibitors are ingrained in our being through our upbringing, background, experiences and a few “life changing” events. Its highly unlikely that a manager will be able to change a team member’s VPI regardless of the time spent mentoring, coaching or even sending them to “charm school”. This makes it imperative for a manager to be thorough in evaluating VPI during the hiring process. Otherwise you will spent hours, days, weeks, months in frustration while the remainder of your team blames you for the unproductive situation.
Levels of Work Ability (LoWa) is the third and final side of the triangle. Most managers realize that complexity increases as the roles increase in an organizational hierarchy. The problems are bigger to be solved. Information from a greater number of data points must be evaluated so as to make judgements about potential future outcomes. Most reasonable people understand this as the reason salaries increase as the roles increase in the hierarchy. Dr. Elliott Jaques spent many years studying and documenting the specific nature of the levels of complexity of work in a hierarchical organizational structure. He found that each level of complexity is distinctly different from the previous level, and therefore will need people to do distinctly different work at it relates to complexity of a level in the hierarchy.
Then Jaques uncovered his most profound discovery of his many contributions to management science (at least in my opinion). He discovered that people’s capability to do complex work is increasing, albeit at different rates, and can be matched to the work required in an organizational hierarchy. He has lots of data and explains Stratified Systems Theory more in his book ‘Requisite Organization’, but don’t we make use of a similar finding when we describe some employees as “high potential employees” or maybe on the negative side when we say the “Peter Principle” kicked in. Jaques’ discovery explains all of this. Therefore at a point in time when a manager needs to hire for a given role, there exists individuals that match the complexity of that role; and are capable of the required problem solving, strategy making, information processing, judgement about likely future outcomes, etc. to deliver the needed outputs of the role as envisioned by the manager. LoWa is this capability and must be a part of the evaluation a manager makes with regard to selecting and accessing members of his/her team.
The Individual Capability Profile as depicted by the triangle is a lot to digest. I will pause now to give you time to think through the triangle but a manager needs to consider all sides of the triangle in the hiring and evaluating of employees.
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