Advice and Tips
Seven steps to figure out your competency gaps and how you can close them
When starting out in your career, it’s important to take the time to stop what you’re doing and invest some time in yourself to find out what your job-related strengths and weaknesses are.
A simple tool you can use to get started on this journey of self-discovery is to perform a GAP Analysis, which is an efficiency tracker and looks to improve whatever it is that you’re not doing well at work.
This exercise takes between 20 – 40 minutes and gives you greater insight into what you can do to reach your business goals.
- Start with yourself – set aside time for the analysis
- Define a future career goal
- Get updated on the latest competency trends in your field
- Decide which of your competency areas you want to improve and will need in the future
- Assess your current level of competency
- Identify the gap here
- Create an action plan to close this gap
Going through these seven steps will help you discover where you are and where you want to be in the future. You’ll then be able to identify the gap (distance) and evaluate different actions and resources that can help you close it.
Step 1 - Desired situation
1. Start with yourself: Reflection
The building blocks of competency are knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes. Spend some time identifying what you can do today and ask yourself what it is you really want to do in the future.
- Which things interest you that you haven’t explored yet?
- What are your most important work values?
- What do you want to work with?
Choose the top five points on your list.
2. Goal: Desired situation
Set yourself a goal for the future. What do you want to achieve? Remember that the goal must be concrete and clear. It might be easier to set some sub-goals to get started. For instance, what are your goals for the upcoming year?
Step 2 - Current situation
3. Trends and contest: Explore
What kind of competency are society in general and employers in particular looking for now and in the future? Which of my own competency areas do I have to improve to stay relevant?
What kind of jobs can you imagine having in the future, and what do you think they’ll require of you?
4. Choose the competency areas you want to improve
We’re sure that you have many positive personal qualities. You’re the one who’s able to make the best choices about your own future competency needs. It’s important to prioritize here so that you can put the GAP Analysis to practical use.
Competency, abilities and interests
Which factors have influenced your decision?
5. Evaluate your current competency areas
It’s easy to underestimate your own competency – either consciously or unconsciously. Our experience is that the more conscious you are of your own competency, the better you’ll be able to describe it. This ability in turn makes it possible for you to identify opportunities where your competency can best be put to use.
Yet while most of us remember which companies we’ve worked for and what kind of jobs we’ve had, it’s often harder for us to describe just what it is we can do. Need help getting started?
We recommend using this tool: Competency mapping
Step 3 - Identify the gap
Wherever you have an actual competency gap, choose actions that can close this gap. Keep in mind that we learn the most by trying things we can’t do and taking on new challenges. So ask yourself what you want to learn more about in order to help you develop professionally.
It’s also important to be conscious of the fact that learning is set up in a 70/20/10 model showing how employees can ensure that their competency development is relevant and facilitate how their new knowledge can best be put to practical use.
- 70 – learning and development through practical experience
- 20 – learning and development through interaction with others (role play, presentation and competency sharing)
- 10 – learning and development through education and training
Step 4 - Close the gap
- Which actions and resources are required to help you move forward from your current situation to where you want to be?
- Start by thinking of one concrete action you can do to help you achieve your goal or sub-goal.
Once this has been done, you can set up an action plan to achieve your goal as quickly as possible.