The What and Why of the Competency Framework for Business Agility

24 Aug 2022

Katie Taylor worked as a freelance consultant for many years, then moved into academia to develop and launch the UK’s first Masters in Agile Leadership. Katie also co-founded the Agile Research Network which bridges the gap between academia and research. She’s been a director at the Consortium since the early 2000’s and is currently Consortium Chair.

Val: What is a Competency Framework and why did the Consortium create one for business agility?

Katie: Can I start with the second part of that question first?  The Consortium has been going through its own transformation over the past few years.  We’ve become the Professional Body for Business Agility, our aim to ‘advance business agility worldwide’ through collaboration and co-operation.   

For us, there are 3 key components that will help us achieve this.  They are the organisations who use and benefit from business agility, the employees who work for those organisations and our Delivery Partner who have the experience and expertise to support both individuals and organisations.

As an agnostic and inclusive Professional Body our role is to help define, grow, and unite the field of business agility.  To do this, we believe it is important to both individuals and their employers to provide evidence of practice, to show that our professionals have not only factual knowledge but have also applied their learning in practice and are developing as reflective practitioners.

So, going back to the ‘what is competency framework’ question, there is often confusion between ‘competence’ and ‘competency’. For us, competence is what you do, and competency is how well you do it. You could have high competence in the sense that you can carry out a skill well, but not have the competency of curiosity to think about where else that skill could be used or consider whether that skill could become obsolete.

In our Competency Framework for Business Agility, we outline the knowledge, agile skills, business skills and personal skills that individuals need to evidence through practice to achieve one of our five levels. It gives a progressive learning pathway to prove that you not only know but have also done and are considering: “where next?”

Val: Why has the competency framework also been split into 5 levels?

Katie: The five levels in the competency framework are important to give individuals a learning pathway with clear guidance on the skills and behaviours required at specific stages of their careers.  For employers, it gives independently verified evidence of both an individual’s knowledge and practice.

Val: In previous workshops and conferences, you’ve referred to people who exhibit the competencies at level 5 as thought leaders. How do you define a thought leader?

Katie: For us, someone who is knowledgeable, has expertise in some aspect of business agility and is willing to share their experience. They typically have a ‘growth mindset’, are curious, resilient, encourage feedback, and enjoy helping us all to learn.

We believe strongly in both research and the expertise of practitioners and bring both together through our Centre of Excellence to promote and support organisations and individuals in their adoption of business agility. At the same time, this group also works to push the boundaries of practice to meet the challenges of becoming more sustainable in a volatile world.