Using Team Competency Matrix to improve manager’s skills

Team Competency Matrix Group Session

As shown on Management 3.0 website, there is a growing demand for more qualified workers who are willing to move up with the company. The Millennial generation is now not only looking for a job that will pay the bills, but one that promises satisfaction and a potential for growth. As consequence, organizations are changing and new management approaches are necessary to support this new scenario.

Based on Stephen Hawking’s theory which affirms that we are living the century of complexity and we have to embrace it to be successful, Jurgen Appelo, author of books like “How to Change the World”, “Management 3.0”, “#Workout” and “Managing for Happiness”, proposes us to develop our organizations as a complex adaptative system instead of a simple machine. The author believes that a better management can be done with fewer managers, and managers have to be prepared to this new challenge leading (and learning) by example.

One of the tools created by Jurgen that I like to use to identify gaps, both in our individual professional experience and expertise and within our team, is the Team Competence Matrix. This tool allows us to know what our employee wants to learn and how it can or cannot fit with company goals.

I usually use this matrix to identify soft and technical skills that needs improvement on software development teams, but recently, I had a very interesting experience with a management team. I facilitated a group session named “Inquietações para 2017” where we reflected about competencies to be improved among us during this year.

As a first step, I explained them that we should work collaboratively and I presented all necessary materials that should be used from that moment.

Materials Used During the Session

After that, I ran an energizer called Collaborative Face Drawing to warm up the team and promote group interaction. The result of this very funny activity is showed bellow and I used the drawn cards to identify team members at the top of the matrix.

Collaborative Face Drawing Result

Hereafter each manager was encouraged to think about two indispensables skills, technical or behavioral, which they believe were crucial for the development of the management team and consequently of the company and its employees during this year. After this stage, I asked each of them to give me the most important post-it between the two writings in order to assemble the skills area of our competence matrix.

With the matrix assembled, we began the first part of our reflection. I explained to the group the importance of honesty in their responses to the effectiveness of the work and went through each of the identified items so that the person who wrote it explained its meaning to the other members and then each person was encouraged to get up and self-assessment in the current item as:

  • Novice: What is it? (Red);
  • Practitioner: I can do it. (Yellow)
  • Expert: I can teach it. (Green)
Competence Levels
Our Final Matrix

With the matrix fully populated for the first round of skills, we decided to hold another meeting with the purpose of:

  • Do one more round of self-assessment for the other identified skills;
  • Consolidate the goal (number of people per competence level) for each skill;
  • Prioritize skills according to the satisfaction survey conducted by the company recently;
  • Define actions to be executed to improve skills;

At the end of the meeting, I ran a checkout activity to measure the effectiveness of our session before they leave the room. I like to mix the QCon quick feedback on talks with One word before leaving, using colors to identify how was the meeting (green to a great session, yellow to a normal session and red to a poor session) and one word to express the person feelings about our meeting.

As you can see in the image below, the meeting was great and all members enjoyed to be together thinking about how we can be a better team, mixing ideas and knowledge to help each other to be a better person and professional.

Check-out Result

Thanks guys for your collaboration and trust. I’m very glad to be part of a group of managers that worries about how to be better leaders for their teams. :D

Oh, and I almost forgot. Now we have a creative way to document this meeting. Thanks designers for your collaboration. :P

Final Team Competency Matrix
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