COMPETENCES AS BUILDING BLOCKS

The quest that in 2001 caused us to start the development of the LDT was: ‘Why is the information from personality assessments most often meant for others (the psychologist, recruiter, HR professional, coach) than for the assessee himself? Of course, this other person will be able to improve his judgment and by that deliver a better advice, but wouldn’t the leader himself (the assessee) be able to interpret and translate his profile into the necessary improvement actions?
The LDT’s purpose is to provide the participant with a systematic means for self reflection and self development within a coherent conceptual framework. The participant needs to be able to trace how his/her style- and role-portfolio relates to his/her behavioural preferences.

The LDT guides leaders and leading professionals in developing more effective leadership behaviour and towards the growth of their personal style and role portfolio.
A prime demand therefore was to build a bridge between the domains of psychotechnics and leadership.
LDpe decided that this connection was to be made via competences.
Competences thus are the building blocks in the LDT.

The concept of 'Competence'
The term ‘competence’ in relation to personality measurement first appeared in the 1970’s.1]
In the 90’s activities like competence analysis, competence management and concepts like 'competence profile' and 'competence model' lifted off as a real hype. However, without having been clearly and unambiguously defined. Competences can both have to do with specific qualities of a person as well as qualities of an organisation.

An important cause of the strong hype about competences were the publications of Hamel and Prahalad, like in their bestseller ‘Competing for the Future’, in which they speak about the ‘Core Competences of the Organisation’, a unique set of core qualities that make an organisation unparalleled and makes it survive.2]
Defining competence models and managing competences became a popular activity for consultants and HR-experts. Every self-respecting organisation developed its own competence model with the intention to develop its staff in the direction of the defined vision and mission.
Unfortunately it showed to be difficult to develop an inter-organisational common 'language', despite some efforts to do so.
Many of the developed Corporate competence models are 'contaminated' with the slogan-mongering of ‘mission statements’ and ‘organisational values’. Or they are the product of compromises in mergers and integration processes.

Of course there were people that critisised the confusion and came with good contributions. We saw for instance the effort of Tom Horn and Thijs Weerts, ‘Be clear about competences’.3] They ordered the different concepts with the help of the Bateson Model:

  • For the organisation: Mission, Culture, Core competences, Products and services;
  • For the individual: Identity, Norms and Values, Talents, Behaviour.

An important scientific contribution was made by Robert Roe in Competences, a key concept for integration of theory and practice in Organisational Psychology.4] Roe defines ‘Competence’ as ‘an obtained capability to adequately perform a task, role or mission’.

Notwithstanding, today, there is still an unpleasant proliferation in the field of competence models, which is not surprising, because most of the competence models are developed from the desire to bring the development of employees in alignment with the vision and strategy of the organisation.

The chosen competency model for the LDT
The requirements in the development of the toolbox were to use a 'clean' and common applicable set of competences that could be connected with measured personality dimensions.
The model developed by the Dutch organisation Psychoteckniek 5] (now part of SHL) did not only respond to LDpe's demand, but there was a large effort of research behind its composition and content (in the relation competence - personality dimension).
LDpe has chosen to relate the styles of the LDT (leadership styles, worker styles, professional roles) to these competence definitions, thereby creating a clear relationship of its models to the basic measurements of the leader's behavioural preferences.


1] For instance in an article authored by Craig C. Lundberg in 1970 titled "Planning the Executive Development Program".
   The term gained traction when in 1973, David McClelland, Ph.D. wrote a seminal paper entitled, "Testing for Competence Rather
   Than for Intelligence".
2] With Competing for the Future managers have seen how they reshape their industries'.
3] ‘Wees helder over competenties’, Gids voor Personeelsmanagement, Jaargang 82, Nummer 9, 2003
4] 'Competenties – Een sleutelbegrip tot integratie in theorie en praktijk van de A&O psychologie'. Gedrag en organisatie 2002-15:
   'In this article the conceptual disorder on Competence is critisized…'
5] professor Roe (footnote 4) was involved in this development.