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(972) 442 9000

What Are the Key Competencies?

A well-designed and validated competency model must reflect the competencies that are most strategically significant to your business. These are the key competencies (not an exhaustive list) a leader must demonstrate on the job. Condensing a myriad of behaviors, abilities, knowledge, and experiences into those most critical for job success is a complex process that generally requires a concerted competency development effort and facilitation by sources outside the organization.

Competency Development: The ATD Model

The Pleasure of Your Company (TPOYC) recommends and utilizes the proven ATD Competency Model (see sidebar) in the context of working with performance management and competency development clients. 

When hiring a competency development consultant, always choose one with Certified Performance and Learning Professional (CPLP) certification. Barb Ashbaugh supports the ATD and fellow members by facilitating study groups for the Dallas Chapter of ATD to prepare for the CPLP Knowledge Exam. Consultants who have completed the CPLP Knowledge Exam and Work Product are proficient in the Areas of Expertise and Foundational Competencies that comprise the ATD model.

TPOYC Competency Development Consulting

Barbara Ashbaugh, CEO of The Pleasure of Your Company (TPOYC) holds a CPLP and has trained numerous Training & Development professionals in competency development. She has consulted with human resource professionals to design competency models for their companies, and will work closely with you to:

  • Clarify current and future business strategies
  • Identify the behaviors, abilities, knowledge and experiences that drive your business
  • Identify the behaviors, abilities, knowledge and experiences needed that may currently be missing from your organization

Utilizing a proprietary job-based competency system, we then create a competency model for each job class or individual job. We assist you in applying the model to create an effective competency development program and align people’s attitudes and behaviors through your applicant screening and selection process, targeted professional development initiatives, consistent performance evaluation systems, merit pay systems, and succession planning process.

Call Barb Ashbaugh at TPOYC today to learn more about our competency development and performance management training services.
(972) 442-9000

Keys to Competency Development and Building Core Competencies

The ATD Competency Model  

After extensive research and experience in competency development programs, the American Society for Training & Development (ATD) has distilled this information into the ATD Competency Model. This is designed for Training & Development professionals to define the specific knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors required for competency development. The model emphasizes:

  • Areas of Expertise (AOEs) -- the specialized knowledge and actions required by specific roles in training & development
  • Foundational Competencies -- those that are important to everyone in the field

 Areas of Expertise

Performance Improvement:  

  • Be able to identify the customer
  • Conduct performance analysis
  • Conduct cause analysis
  • Analyze systems
  • Gather data
  • Incorporate customer and stakeholder needs
  • Select solutions
  • Manage and implement projects
  • Build and sustain relationships
  • Evaluate results against organizational goals
  • Monitor change

Instructional Design:

  • Be able to conduct a needs assessment
  • Identify appropriate learning approach
  • Apply learning theory
  • Collaborate with others
  • Design instructional material
  • Analyze and select technologies
  • Integrate technology options 
  • Develop instructional Materials
  • Evaluate learning design

Training Delivery:

  • Be able to manage the learning environment
  • Prepare for training delivery 
  • Convey objectives
  • Align learning solutions with course objectives and learner needs
  • Establish credibility as an instructor
  • Create a positive learning climate
  • Deliver various learning methodologies
  • Facilitate learning
  • Encourage participation and build learner motivation
  • Deliver constructive feedback
  • Ensure learning outcomes
  • Evaluate solutions

Learning Technologies:

  • Be able to use technology effectively across the different areas of expertise
  • Identify when and how to use technology as a training and development solution

Evaluating Learning Impact:

  • Be able to identify customer expectations
  • Select appropriate strategies, research design, and measures
  • Communicate and gain support for the evaluation plan
  • Manage data collections
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Apply learning analytics
  • Make recommendations to aid decision-making

Managing Learning Programs:

  • Be able to establish a vision
  • Establish strategies
  • Implement action plans
  • Develop and monitor the budget
  • Manage staff
  • Model leadership in developing people
  • Manage others
  • Manage and implement projects
  • Manage external resources
  • Ensure compliance with legal, ethical, and regulatory requirements

Integrated Talent Management:

  • Be able to align talent management to organizational objectives
  • Use talent management systems
  • Equip managers to develop their people
  • Organize delivery of developmental resources
  • Promote high-performance workplaces
  • Coordinate workforce and succession planning
  • Facilitate the career development planning process
  • Support engagement and retention efforts
  • Implement individual and organizational assessments
  • Use talent management analytics to show results and impact


  • Be able to establish coaching agreement
  • Establish trust and intimacy with the client
  • Display coaching presence
  • Demonstrate active listening
  • Ask powerful questions
  • Use direct communication
  • Create awareness
  • Design learning opportunities
  • Develop goals and plans
  • Manage progress and accountability
  • Meet ethical guidelines and professional standards

Knowledge Management:

  • Be able to advocate knowledge management
  • Benchmark knowledge management best practices and lessons learned
  • Encourage collaboration
  • Facilitate social learning
  • Establish a knowledge culture
  • Support the development of a knowledge management infrastructure
  • Leverage technology
  • Manage information life cycle
  • Design and implement knowledge management solutions
  • Transform knowledge into learning
  • Evaluate knowledge management success

Change Management:

  • Be able to establish sponsorship and ownership for change
  • Build involvement
  • Create a contract for change
  • Conduct diagnostic assessments
  • Provide feedback
  • Facilitate strategic planning for change
  • Support change intervention
  • Encourage integration of change into organizational culture
  • Manage consequences
  • Evaluate change results

Foundational Competencies

Business Skills:

  • Analyze needs, propose solutions
  • Apply business skills
  • Drive results
  • Plan and implement assignments
  • Think strategically
  • Innovate

Global Mindset:

  • Accommodate cultural differences 
  • Convey respect for different perspectives
  • Expand own awareness
  • Adapt behavior to accommodate others
  • Champion diversity
  • Leverage diverse contributions

Industry Knowledge:

  • Be able to maintain own professional knowledge
  • Keep abreast of industry changes and trends
  • Build industry sector knowledge

Interpersonal Skills:

  • Build trust
  • Communicate effectively
  • Influence stakeholders
  • Network and partner
  • Demonstrate emotional intelligence

Personal Skills:

  • Be able to demonstrate adaptability
  • Model personal development

Technology Literacy:

  • Demonstrate awareness of technologies
  • Use technology effectively

Why Competency Development?

Identifying a clear set of competencies for jobs within your organization will simplify and improve applicant screening and selection, professional development activities, individual performance evaluations, and succession planning. Competency development is a win-win for all constituencies – beneficial for customers, good for employees, and great for business.

Competencies are the fusion of behaviors, abilities, knowledge, and experiences that high performers utilize to excel in their particular job responsibilities; Developing competencies in a workforce with well-defined job-based competencies creates competitive advantages enhancing bottom-line results and totally aligns the human resource initiative with the development strategies of the company.

Our experience indicates 3 key elements must be present in all effective competency systems:

  1. There must be a clear line-of-sight between the company’s business strategies and the competency system;
  2. The competency system must clearly describe successful behaviors and performance expectations for each job analyzed; and
  3. The competency system must be easy to use and must integrate well with other HR systems and processes.​