Why Shift to a Competency Based Organization?


Beginning this year, there will be two new management practices related to leadership development coming to InterVarsity. It's all part of a Strategic Plan initiative known as Growing Leaders. The Growing Leaders Project is based on conversations with leaders from across our movement, including IVP and the NSC. We share a vision for the following three items: 1) Develop the next generation of leaders; 2) Create a stronger leadership culture with a shared and transparent leadership pipeline; and 3) Ensure that women and people of color have access to available opportunities.

The ELT has approved a set of shared leadership competencies and leadership formation elements for all leaders in the organization. The Growing Leaders Project will enable leaders from across the movement to use these shared leadership competencies in three common supervisory practices (performance reviews, career conversations, and development goals) between all supervisors and supervisees to develop staff.

What is a "Competency"?

An observable behavior exhibited with excellence                      

Skills and behaviors required for success

How do I know which "competencies" are necessary?

These nine competencies help answer a fundamental question: "What skills are important for success for all leaders in InterVarsity?" Regardless of their level, leaders will need these competencies to succeed in their work. And although these nine competencies do not cover every skill required by every job, they identify a shared core of leadership skills. These competencies enable us to have a common framework and language around leadership, development, and growth.

What are some benefits of shifting to a shared, national leadership language?

  • All staff will have a clear and open pathway for their development as leaders.
  • Leaders invest in their own development and see InterVarsity as a place to grow through shared leadership language and behaviors.
  • Standard processes and tools support development and engagement.
  • The creation, cultivation, and maintenance of a diverse, robust, shared transparent talent pipeline.
  • Competencies can guide readiness for going deeper in your current job or further leadership opportunities. 
  • Decreases the "Who knows who" culture of a small organization, thus creating consistent and accessible pathways for underrepresented staff for job opportunities, promotions, and internal job transfers.

What Are the RISKS if We Don't Make this Shift?

  • We'll limp along with a "mom and pop shop" system of staff development where promotion is based on who knows who.
  • We'll struggle to become an inclusive and diverse organization at every level and in every department.
  • We'll fail to retain staff that are talented and called to our vision, especially women and people of color.
  • We'll struggle to develop the key leadership qualities that serve us to reach the 2030 calling.

How Will the Competencies and These Conversations Help Me in My Work?  

  • Competencies will help supervisors and supervisees focus and co-create annual development goals for staff to grow.
  • Competencies will create clarity around job mastery, thus making performance reviews and feedback more effective and meaningful.
  • Competencies will help define skills and experience of various roles within the organization, thus facilitating long-term career conversations between supervisor and supervisee.

How Do Competencies Relate to Performance Management?

  • Regular annual goals describe the "WHAT" of what we do.
  • Competencies help us figure out "HOW" we go about accomplishing these things.
  • Put them together – the "WHAT" and the "HOW" – providing a complete picture of overall performance.

How Can I Participate?