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Or, if you were a squirrel, would you be blind or fat?
Alex Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP
I enjoy meeting HR professionals across the globe. My favorite part is hearing their different perspectives, whether they're quietly commenting on specific trends in talent acquisition or shouting about the future of HR in general. Everything I hear helps fuel my thinking as I plan new research in our field.
Even more valuable are the questions people ask. They range from lighthearted queries such as "What are the answers to the SHRM-CP exam?" to serious ones such as "What is the biggest challenge most organizations face?" I strive to respond to all questions objectively, sharing insights that can help them, whatever their situation.
Here's the question I'm asked more than any other: "What competency would you add to the SHRM Competency Model and the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (BoCK)?"
Since I was the lead investigator and developer of these foundational documents of SHRM Certification, this question is significant to me. I always give it some thought. Yet my answer is always the same: "I would make Change Management a competency, rather than a subcompetency of Leadership & Navigation." But my unvarnished response would go much further: "I'd add another competency that is all too often forgotten or forsaken—consistency."
I know you're shaking your head. How is consistency a competency? How does it fit the definition of a competency in the SHRM BoCK ("a cluster of highly interrelated knowledge, skills and abilities that give rise to the behaviors needed to perform a given job effectively")?
Over the past 10 years, I've worked with countless researchers and HR professionals to identify the elements that lead to HR career success. Recently, while working with some subject matter experts, they repeatedly noted the importance of being consistent. But they also noted that consistency is an intangible trait.
I agree with the first part of their assessment, but I disagree with the second. I would argue that consistency is neither intangible nor a trait. If anything, it is a forgotten, or hidden, competency. Why? Because consistency underscores every practice, every communication, every decision of HR professionals, all over the world.
Consistency matters in everything HR does. This is demonstrated by three types of people:
Like most HR professionals, I strive to find effectiveness—consistent effectiveness. "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while," my late uncle John used to say, "but the fat squirrel knows where to go for nuts day in and day out." (I miss that genius every day!)
Which area of your organization is most in need of consistency? Where do you look for consistency among your peers? How do you practice consistency? Do you know where the "nuts" are? What do you think of consistency as a competency?
Alex Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, is senior vice president of knowledge development for SHRM.
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