Competent or Capable?

Given the right training, support and resource, I would still never be able to run the 100 meters in under 10 seconds – and I would never in a million years achieve a level of competency to compete in the Olympics. This is not just age (about which I retain my right to remain silent), it is also about innate ability, aptitude, intellect, and talent.

More so than ever, Senior Managers and Leaders are asking the question: “How do I make my Managers and Supervisors ‘better’?” Does that mean we want people to be more Competent or more Capable?

It might be viewed as semantics but for clarification, there is a distinction about whether people possess the ‘potential’ capability (given the right resources and conditions) or are competent (as of now). It provides the distinction between people actually carrying out their roles and responsibilities that are required of the business or whether they are able to perform those tasks given the right conditions, encouragement, support, training or development.

When looking at a Competency Framework, the organisation needs to look at both – but need to know the difference.

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