What are Competencies?

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Effectively exploring alternatives and positions to reach outcomes that gain the support and acceptance of all parties.

Key Actions

  • Clarifies the current situation—Explores all parties’ needs, concerns, and initial positions, including own.

  • Identifies points of agreement/disagreement—Builds common ground by highlighting areas of agreement; focuses efforts by pointing out areas of disagreement.

  • Keeps discussion issue oriented—Manages the interpersonal process to stay focused on the task; constructively addresses emotions and conflict.

  • Develops others’ and own ideas—Engages in mutual problem solving by brainstorming alternative positions or approaches and evaluating them openly and fairly.

  • Builds support for preferred alternatives—Builds value of preferred alternatives by relating them to the other party’s needs; responds to objections by emphasizing value; exposes problems with undesirable alternatives.

  • Facilitates agreement—Seeks a win-win solution through a give-and-take process that recognizes each party’s core needs.

Sample Job Activities

      • Negotiate terms, agreements, and understandings with others (e.g., customers, senior management, vendors, departments, regulatory bodies, special interest groups).

      • Negotiate schedules and deliverables with customers.

      • Negotiate financial terms with external customers.

      • Arbitrate policy or procedural disagreements.

      • Engage in problem solving by offering alternative positions and evaluating them openly and fairly.

      • Negotiate terms of contracts or agreements.

      • Negotiate labor contracts.

      • Negotiate business partnerships.


The competency Negotiation should be used only when negotiating terms, conditions, and agreements (such as legal contracts, labor contracts, vendor agreements, or business partnerships) is a major part of the job/role. Clear negotiation situations are characterized by a perceived conflict with a difference in objectives, significant outcomes at stake that will have impact over an extended period of time, and an unknown win-lose outcome.

Planning and Organizing

Establishing courses of action for self and others to ensure that work is
completed efficiently.

Key Actions

  • Prioritizes—Identifies more critical and less critical activities and assignments; adjusts priorities when appropriate.

  • Determines tasks and resources—Determines project/assignment requirements by breaking them down into tasks; identifying equipment, materials, and people needed; and coordinating with internal and
    external partners.

  • Schedules—Allocates appropriate amounts of time for completing own and others’ work; avoids scheduling conflicts; develops timelines and milestones.

  • Leverages resources—Takes advantage of available resources (individuals, processes, departments, and tools) to complete work efficiently.

  • Stays focused—Uses time effectively and prevents irrelevant issues or distractions from interfering with work completion.

Sample Job Activities

      • Plan use of own time to accomplish a variety of tasks.

      • Schedule own work so that the most important work gets done.

      • Use a calendar or tickler file to schedule meetings, work, etc.

      • Schedule work with other departments or areas.

      • Prepare plans for projects or major assignments (including tasks, resources, and time frames).

      • Develop timetables or milestone charts for projects.

      • Schedule meetings with peers, employees, internal/external customers, vendors, or others.

      • Prepare materials for projects or presentations.

      • Adjust schedule based on priority situations that occur throughout the week.

      • Advise others and coordinate their schedules to address priority customer issues.

      • Coordinate own time and priorities with the needs of customers and others.

      • Know and rely on the "experts" in various departments who can solve and address special problems.

      • Plan own work schedule with little or no supervision or guidance.

      • Prioritize time and financial (corporate) resources.

      • Put together and execute project plans.


Do not use Planning and Organizing and Managing Work (Includes Time Management) together.

Planning and Organizing is closely related to Managing Work (Includes Time Management); they share a number of key actions. Use Planning and Organizing when the job/role requires incumbents to plan their own and others’ time and activities.

Merely maintaining a written schedule or arranging meetings for others does not qualify as planning others’ time and activities. Additional planning and organizing behaviors must be present within a job/role to justify using the Planning and Organizing competency.

Quality Orientation (Attention to Detail)

Accomplishing tasks by considering all areas involved, no matter how small; showing concern for all aspects of the job; accurately checking processes and tasks; being watchful over a period of time.

Key Actions

  • Follows procedures—Accurately and carefully follows established procedures for completing work tasks.

  • Ensures high-quality output—Vigilantly watches over job processes, tasks, and work products to ensure freedom from errors, omissions, or defects.

  • Takes action—Initiates action to correct quality problems or notifies others of quality issues as appropriate.

Sample Job Activities

      • Review all parts of a job to ensure quality.

      • Complete reports, orders, or other documentation accurately.

      • Proof own work to identify errors or omissions.

      • Review and edit where necessary all documents to ensure accuracy and completeness.

      • Inform affected internal/external customers of changes in a timely manner.

      • Ensure that all details of a task are accomplished.

      • Keep track of many small details without forgetting any.

      • Notice errors in work before it is distributed.

      • Check to see that all details in each step of a procedure have been completed.

      • Make sure that correspondence is error free.

Compare to:

  • Work Standards. This competency focuses on setting high standards, working hard, and taking responsibility for shortcomings. Quality Orientation focuses on paying attention to all details and aspects of a job or process to avoid substandard outputs. It does not involve taking personal responsibility or accountability; its focus is on results.

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