Meg Wheatley already discussed 25 years ago in her book - Leadership and the New Science exciting questions such as: How should organizational and leadership theories influenced by discoveries in quantum physics, chaos research, biology and chemistry? Are we employees who influence the organizations we work in, or are we guided by the culture, the processes and ways of leading that exist where we work? How does the individual interact with his team and that team with the rest of the organization?

In 3 articles, YESBox will describe what we consider to be 3 important links between individual => team => organization. We start with the connection between skills, competencies and abilities.

1. Skills

Skills are the basis of a skill structure. Skills are trained from early school age - counting, writing or reading - and with more skills we can better use our cognitive ability to solve problems, argue, etc.

Skills are sometimes unambiguous, such as being able to drive a car or being able to use Office applications. But skills are also complex: You can know Javascript but you have also demonstrated a skill to create the structure of a mobile app, ie you use both programming and design skills to make an app that can be seen in a 


You as an individual have control over your skills; you could perform them in any organization. You can train yourself to new skills, you can improve those you have, you can also lose them if you do not use / maintain them and you can self-assess the level of your skills.

Together with personality, cognitive ability (IQ) and personal values, skills form the cornerstone of your potential (which we will discuss in the next article). Depending on the opportunity, role or responsibility, you can get more or less gear on your skills.

An HR function can create a range of learning skills. Skills are a central building block in what is described as competencies and which will be our next topic. 

2.    Competencies

En competently person has one demonstrated ability to perform tasks. The person applies skills with experience and understanding, and he uses knowledge, will and motivation in a way that can be linked to what the organization needs. This is expressed in requirement of competencies. An employed bridge designer can do other things than just what the role of bridge designer requires. But it is as a bridge designer the person is employed, and therefore against such competence requirements which the person is evaluated. The interesting thing is that the person himself does not evaluate his skills, the make manager, colleagues or customer (s)! The competence requirements are set to make it reasonable for the person to achieve the performance goals associated with being a bridge designer.

Something that can be overlooked in recruitments is to be demonstrated experience in a resume is not synonymous with demonstrated competence in the new role: Governance, processes and IT support also affect! The competent bridge builder above is recruited to the competitor, but is suddenly not as competent - his competence was a symbiosis inhop with the steering and that

CAD system he used there, a system that in itself had "intellectual" capital. When the new CAD system does not have the same functionality, the bridge builder becomes uncertain, the projects take longer and the star recruitment is not as brilliant. Competences are demonstrated in a context, based on a specific role or task, while skills are more independent and linked the individual.

Evaluation of competence is one assessment sport, much like figure skating, and how easy is it? The chance of getting a good assessment increases if the competencies are linked to the work content in the role. A manager or project manager can often judge a person perceived to be competent, it's much harder to pinpoint exactly where it's flawed. The more competencies that are evaluated, the greater the risk that the assessments will be mixed up. A rule of thumb may be that a position should not have more than 3-5 competence requirements, approximately as many as the performance targets set. If the requirements are elaborated with clear descriptions of the levels, increases the chance of a fair assessment. It will be downright crazy if the manager is expected to be able to tax an individual skills which can amount to 40-50 pieces! Then competence assessment becomes a guessing game that does not add value.

3.    Abilities

Do you remember the bridge designer who was perceived as less competent when he worked in the new CAD system above? That brings us to the next step in the chain and as it really starts to be talked about: It is abilities.

Abilities are not a new concept: In the 1990s, IT departments began to talk about “abilities”, ie other factors that could affect how new IT solutions became effective when large IT investments did not work. But what is a typical ability, and how does it differ from skills and competencies? And perhaps the most important question (why do you keep reading this article): What is the practical benefit of understanding the differences?

In an organization, abilities are fundamental to support and fulfill strategic plans and objectives. Abilities describe ford to be done while a process describes the something needs to be done. It sounds like a small difference, but looking at abilities also means taking a step back to see the big picture and what it is like. 

 the organization does correspond ford to be done to achieve the strategy.

You work in an organization that will grow organically by 15% per year with a staff turnover of about 5% per year. You need to recruit 20% of the current workforce per year to cope with this. Before you buy a new recruitment system, you ask recruitment managers how many are recruited per year: 10%. Already there you know that of the organization ability to attract and retain Talents do not help to achieve the company's strategic goals! You should consider other measures in the short term to increase the recruitment rate and / or reduce the number who quit and not just wait for a new recruitment system to have the intended effect.

Looking at abilities can also be a great way to find out what should be done. If in the same company in exit interviews of the 5% of employees who resigned each year, they found out that an important reason to quit was that it was easier to apply for a new job externally than to find opportunities internally, the focus might shift. for support recruited talents rather than recruiting new ones. Career Management sails up as one ability which supports the company's strategy.

The abilities are compound of 4 components:

  • Competence, ie that employees function well in their defined roles, which places demands on role definitions
  • Steering: That the business is organized in a way that supports the follow-up of the ability.
  • Processes: Efficient and logical, where unnecessary steps and controls have been eliminated and finally (and what everyone associates with digitization) that
  • IT support is adapted to the ability you want to deliver on, and ensures full use of important business data, for both earnings and analysis.

 Of the 4 components, only one is controlled to a certain role and thus to the individual level - competencies. The other 3 are group-oriented, ie ability mapping is suitable for doing at group or organizational level. Then it will be the group's competence profile that determines whether that component is met, not the individual's gap analysis. In other words: Complements competencies in the group each other there are conditions to improve the ability of the organization. You no longer need to be a "Jack of all trades" to succeed in your role, you can be a "Jack of one trade" and so good that the presence in a team becomes a matter of course and a success factor for the team!

4.    Summation

In the article, we have described how skills, competencies and abilities are connected at the individual, team and organizational level. If you who work with development interviews, evaluation interviews, skills development and recruitment (and you are quite a few!) Clarify the concepts in your organization, your efforts to develop these 3 concepts will also have a greater chance of success. If abilities are directly associated with achieving the company's strategy, well then are competencies indirectly associated, and then is skills which of course builds skills also linked to the strategic goals!

The development of abilities is what provides the best conditions to improve the achievement! And somewhere it is improved performance that is in the balance to develop employees, develop leadership, hire new people (and skills) and think about organizational change. Therefore, come 

the next article is about performance in a similar axis as this:

Potential - Performance - Direction