Recently, one of our Certified Consultants, a great friend of The Leadership Circle, posted an unknown competitor’s list of competencies and associated definitions on our LinkedIn site.When the consultant asked if the competitor’s competency model might be marginally better than ours, it got my attention. As I looked at the posted list of competencies, I was not surprised that most of the competencies in their model matched up with many of our competencies. There were differences, but overall, there was about a 90% similarity.
Where there were differences, I could see the value of the competitor’s competencies, and I noticed that some of our important competencies were missing from the posted list. I came to the conclusion that the posted competency model was a strong one. But was it stronger than ours?
The Key to Leadership Development
It was only later (sometime in the middle of the night!) that I realized that the initial question our consultant was asking was the wrong question—not wrong, really, but inadequate. The consultant’s question assumed that simply adding new and better competencies will somehow dramatically improve our ability to develop more effective leaders. Furthermore, as a question, it failed to acknowledge the power of the consciousness-development platform at the heart of The Leadership Circle.
While competencies play a very important part in developing effective leaders, they are not the key to development. Certainly we need to continue to improve our competency models, especially in a world of escalating global complexity. But, in that search, let’s not lose sight of the fact that competency is only part of the equation for developing effective leadership. If we continue to focus exclusively on competency, we will miss how development actually happens.
While the Leadership Circle Profiles contain a very robust set of leadership competencies, a competency-only approach misses the power of The Leadership Circle altogether.
A Developmentally Focused Model
In a world of escalating global complexity, many leaders find themselves “In over their heads.” This phenomenon results when the leader’s “Operating System” is not complex enough to match the complexity of the challenges facing the leader. In this case, the leader needs more than skill development. The leader needs to develop greater complexity of mind.
The Leadership Circle is founded on the principle that competency-only approaches are inadequate to the challenge of developing leaders for the complexity they are now facing. This stand arises from our research into Adult Development. Our research shows a strong relationship between the leader’s measured effectiveness and the Stage Of Development of the leader’s Operating System. This breakthrough research suggests that merely identifying an improved set of competencies, can only marginally enhance our ability to develop effective leaders. It strongly suggests that effectiveness, in more complex leadership roles, requires a more advanced leadership operating system. Therefore, the Leadership Circle’s assessments contain a robust competency assessment that is packed into a much larger framework for developing leaders.
The Leadership Circle is the only developmentally focused competency assessment available on the market. In other words, what distinguishes our assessment tools is the ability measure competency and access deep structure—the leader’s Operating System.
Why “Deep Structure?”
In System Dynamics Theory, structure determines performance. In other words, the primary determinate of the performance of any system is the design of that system. Underneath the design of the system is the thinking and assumptions that formed the design. In other words, thinking creates the design, and design determines the performance. We call this thinking behind the design, deep structure. In human terms, deep structure is the system of the thinking that drives a leader’s pattern of behavior. Deep structure is the Leader’s Operating System.
The Leadership Circle Profiles are designed to surface deep structure. They create a platform that allows us to inquire into the beliefs and assumptions that are the source-code for the pattern of behavior—as measured in the competency data. The benefits of this approach are obvious: accessing the underlying assumptions that drive behavior creates the opportunity to redesign the operating system. This allows the desired leadership effectiveness to develop naturally.
A Point of Differentiation: Competency Plus Deep Structure
The Leadership Circle Assessment tools are powerful because they include a complete competency model and because they provide immediate access to the deep structure conversation. This combination serves-up breakthrough developmental opportunities.
In a Nutshell
Back to my friend’s question: Is any competency model better than ours? Well, the question-before-the-question is more appropriately: Is there a better approach to accelerating leadership development?
Our answer in a nutshell: Only one that combines a well-developed 360-degree competency assessment and delivers access to deep structure.
I am confident that you will find nothing that comes close to the power of The Leadership Circle assessments for accelerating the development of effective leadership.