Deploying A Single Global Competency Model
Feature Story – By Simon Mormen
These tips offer a lifeline for implementing global delivery
The world has shrunk over the past 10 years and organizations are finally finding it possible to unify their business operations. Isolated pools of business excellence formerly scattered across areas of the globe are now being located, harvested and refined as the new global standard.
Over the past five years, we have seen a massive shift toward the implementation of global competencies and coaching models and witnessed how powerful this standardization can be. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a C-suite email assigning you the daunting task of delivering a new global competency model, the following tips may offer a lifeline.
Do you have global competencies and if so, who owns them? It is often HR but, regardless of ownership, the relationship between this project and HR cannot be underestimated. If you have a global HR lead, they should be able to point you in the right direction or, at the very least, put you in touch with counterparts in the respective clusters to start the conversation.
To build this framework, in-depth understanding and insight into what countries are doing right now is crucial. Before diving in, consider conducting a review of the existing competency model with country training heads, gauge a feel on how they are currently being utilized, or what is being used and why?
At this point, it helps when you have a highlevel global directive and a senior business sponsor to make sure that you get the right people around the table.
Preparing the Business Case
The project is likely to be sizeable from both a cost and a resource perspective, so having a concrete business case for leadership will assist in securing investment. This needs to show an understanding of the current global marketplace and prove existing gaps are detrimental to future needs.
Is there a coaching culture already in existence? Maybe it differs between countries and business units? Look for advocates and support at early stages so that you are not going into battle alone.
A good way to enlighten disbelievers is to introduce them to the 70/20/10 rule, illustrating how any current training will be virtually ineffective after three months with limited or no on-the-job follow-up.
Ask questions to highlight the inadequacy of current coaching visibility:
- How much coaching is actually happening?
- What are currently our strongest skills and which need development?
- What skills are managers actually coaching and are these progressing over time?
Global Steering Team
Any project that touches the field force also touches many other parts of the organization and will be ultimately visible and potentially very sensitive. Resistance to change is inevitable and must be well managed. It is important that all stakeholders are engaged and fully on board. This means scheduling regular meetings and facilitating opportunities for others to voice their concerns.
For this reason, you will need to create a core steering team. At a minimum that means:
- Sales Excellence
- Sales Training
- Field Leadership
If you are deploying to European markets, such as Germany, France and Austria, you will also need local knowledge and assistance with GDPR and the work councils, who will have specific requirements from a regulatory perspective with legal and government restrictions.
The more you communicate in advance, the easier your implementation will be and the less chance of finding yourself ambushed at a later stage. Nobody likes surprises, except at Christmas!
As seen above, we mandate IT involvement, but this should be at the earliest stage possible, ideally even before you create the global steering team. Goals and objectives will have been defined in the business case. The tracking and validation of these need to be considered early on.
Communicate these goals and your thoughts with them early, as IT procedures, approval and resources could have a drastic impact on your timeline. Remember to include any IT budget in the business case.
Your IT business partner’s knowledge will be critical in helping you to make the right decisions. They can play a key role in liaising with their counterparts in other countries. Discuss:
How can technology assist the end-users’ understanding of the new competencies, observable behaviors and expectations at different levels?
- How will users be able to gain access to the new training resources?
- How will you measure the success and gain visibility of the changes?
Your IT business partner will be able to assess your requirements and investigate:
- Whether a suitable solution already exists.
- The prospect of building one internally.
- The possibility of bringing in an outside supplier through an RFP process.
If “Option 2” is up for consideration, make sure that they have a full understanding of your requirements and, even more importantly, the resources to deliver.
Gaining Buy-In at Country Level
You should already have had good support and communication with at least your top five to 10 countries, so you can be reasonably confident that you have engineered a global solution. But, also remember to have some built-in flexibility in your back pocket for some minor country-level modifications if required.
You will need to form ministeering teams as the project reaches fruition and country deployments are finalized on your timeline. They will be interested not only in the benefits and the adoption process, but also how they will be expected to manage their time and schedule accordingly.
A great idea is to capture all the key ingredients in one document for a successful country roll-out that can evolve over time. We call this the “global cookbook,” and it will become your backbone for ensuring repeatable deployments, containing
everything that a country needs, including FAQs.
Empower country deployment teams by setting them up with test teams in their own language and allow them to demo the tool and competencies internally to generate buy-in and support.
Prior to the go-live date, make sure that you have assigned adequate time, format and ideally the dates for the training. You may want to run a two-part launch training session to give the managers both soft-skill and technology training.
Live training, though expensive (and problematic at the current time), is by far more effective for the following reasons:
- It shows the importance of this project – it’s not just another webinar.
- Attendees can communicate with their peers and discuss both business and technical questions as a group.
- It ensures users are present and less likely to miss important information due
to tempting distractions.
If webinars are your only option, ensure you allow for multiple sessions to fit around schedules and record them along with any questions that arise. Make this easily available both as a refresher and for new hires.
When creating the training materials, remember to allow time for all the translations. If you rely on Google Translate alone, you won’t win yourself any friends when you ask for translation validation by the country (which should be mandatory).
Pilot and Go-Live
A pilot is extremely beneficial prelaunch, especially for a large country. It is also useful to gain the support of post-pilot advocates who will be able to sell the benefits far more convincingly to their peers than you can.
Set business expectations and explain to the pilot participants that they have been chosen because of their high standing in the business and their ability to mentor their peers. Make it clear that they are a part of a global project and their input is critical to its success.
For both pilot and go-live, ensure that a senior leader can open the call or session with a persuasive introduction outlining the goals of the project and how it will lead to greater success for the sales teams. Make sure at the end of all training that next steps are clearly documented and agreed to aid on monitoring adoption.
Making the Change Stick
After go-live, it will be critical to have regular check-ins with the country stakeholders and steering team to monitor any concerns and ensure targets are met. Measure the impact, compare performance (pre and post) within each country, as well as against similar countries to see whether you have achieved success on a global scale.
Ensure you share actual data vs. expectations and remediate any challenges swiftly.
- First month – weekly meetings.
- Then every two weeks for two months.
- Compare and share key data points against similar countries or business units, if possible.
A lot to digest but depending on your organization’s size, this project could last anywhere between 12 and 36 months, so forewarned is forearmed as they say. We hope the above has at least got you thinking and will help you to create your own global cookbook.
Simon Mormen is managing director for Atomus. Email Simon at