The achievement and action competencies explain a good part of the results we obtain from leadership.
As we explained in the previous blog, competencies are precisely a set of mental models, ideas, motives, beliefs, needs, interests, knowledge, and skills that causally explain our behaviors. They are the unseen part of the behaviors. The actions we take to achieve our objectives and goals originate from the set of competencies we have. From them, we carry out actions aimed at obtaining what we want.
The Spencer & Spencer`s competencies model, which we rely on for this sequence of articles, recognizes approximately 30 competencies for directive levels. One group of them refers to achievement and action:
- The achievement orientation
- Concern for order and quality
- The initiative
- The search of information
Achievement orientation is the competence observed in those individuals who have a proclivity to set goals and achieve them. From a very young age showed a natural tendency to achieve the goal they set for themselves. The drive to improve in a game or excel in a sport are signs in childhood and adolescence. According to McClelland’s Learned Three Needs theory (1960), one of three needs predominates in people: achievement, affiliation, or power. We all have all three: 1) the need to achieve what we want or need, 2) the need to feel affection and socialize, and 3) the need to think that we have control over what happens to us and our environment. Leaders usually show a high developed achievement orientation competency. They set goals and strive to achieve them. They are highly motivated by the challenge, which explains their desire to start businesses or projects and to make them grow. Besides, this competency impels them to continue their projects until they achieve success.
The second competence of this group is the concern for order and quality. The order is an ally of quality. It means to be organized in everything that surrounds us: our personal belongings, the information we handle, the paperwork, the documents, our personal life, our closet, and so on. Being orderly (without being obsessive) helps save time because we don’t waste it looking for what we need. It facilitates access to information on time, reducing the possibility of failures, errors, and rework. In other words, the order is an ingredient in working with quality.
Since the middle of the last century, quality-conscious competency has been recognized as an essential requirement for business success. Leaders seek their products and services to be of the best quality because they understand that it is the basis of sustainable competitiveness. Nobody likes having faulty products or services delivered to us. Nowadays, the client’s power has been multiplied by the ease of access to the information of competitors through the Internet and social networks in which clients comment on their opinions. Therefore, leaders must be the exact representation in their own life and way of working of quality. They have a mental pattern of living with quality. Achieving the highest standards of efficiency and compliance is the goal that guides the actions of successful leaders.
The initiative is the third competency of this group. Taking the initiative means not waiting to be told what to do. Actions spring from our own decision, our criteria, based on the analysis and findings we make. The truth is that not all people have initiative. Many people prefer to wait for directions on what to do before undertaking a task due to upbringing and social influence. Their attitude is reactive. They may have learned to fear making mistakes and prefer to wait for their bosses to tell them what to do. Leaders, on the contrary, thanks to the fact that they have much confidence in themselves and possess personal resources (knowledge, skills, experience, information, self-confidence, analytical skills, risk tolerance, among others), take proactive action, although no one has instructed them to do so. Proactivity means not waiting for things to happen and then acting; it means to anticipate the facts. They have a future vision of what can happen and work in advance not to miss opportunities and reduce the risk of errors for not acting preventively.
Finally, the information search competition completes the whole. People who have developed capacities, abilities, skills to search and find information has an advantage because their decisions and actions are based on reliable references. On the contrary, those who have not developed this competence live and decide based only on their thoughts, memories, or assumptions. It is very dangerous for a leader to base himself on what he “thinks things are” and not on information. This competition moves us towards decisions based on data, evidence, quantities, ratios, percentages, events that have occurred. Today’s search for information is mainly carried out on the Internet, in digital sources, in the information systems of the company, associations, entities, unions, and governments. Learning to navigate the Internet, identify critical information, identify the source and systematically save the information are skills that benefit. If you think you may need the information you have found in the future, take notes from the source, get used to carrying notebooks (physical or virtual) for your notes. Sort the folders on your computer: by years, topics, clients, products, as you think is more practical. It is not a waste of time. It is knowledge management. We are in the information era. Remember that whoever has the information has the power.
I hope this blog has helped you refresh your understanding of what factors explain your accomplishments. In short, remember that you must strengthen your achievement orientation, avoid getting demoralized easily and follow through on what you set out to do. Second, you must be convinced that order and quality in all your work, no matter how small or simple they may seem, are your cover letter, and they speak of you. Then you must analyze, decide and act on your initiative without waiting for others to tell you what to do. Have confidence in yourself, decide what you should do, and get to work. Finally, you must be very good at searching, finding, reading, filing, and retrieving critical information for your life project’s goals and your business.
In the following blogs, we will continue to develop the other competencies of the model.
We can help you to improve your competencies by our business coaching services. Contact us: email@example.com