The Competency Index (CI) is a simple measure that gauges how deeply ingrained someone’s behavior might be. It enables you to determine which skills he or she is missing and which you will need to bring to the relationship in order to make it work.
Incompetent people tend to be set in their ways and may not appreciate the need for doing anything differently. It will be difficult to influence a change in their behavior, but there are practical steps to be taken that might make a difference.
Put your Doer hat on and imagine being faced with the challenges in this true-life story.
Level 2: Might Get It If There Is A Personal Benefit
Travis is a braggart and a blowhard. All he ever talks about are his accomplishments, which in fact are not his at all. He seldom has an idea of his own, so he keeps stealing from others — you in particular. You are frustrated because he rarely has anything substantive to say, but the higher-ups are swayed by his charismatic personality and his ability to persuade the big-name clients.
Your problem started when Travis put his hat in the ring for the division head position. The final three candidates were to be interviewed by the Board of Directors — as a member of the screening panel, you know first-hand that his performance was a masterpiece.
He entered the boardroom dressed fashionably perfect, straight from the cover of Fortune magazine. He paused at the door just long enough for all eyes to turn his way. Oozing with charm, he worked the room masterfully, glad-handing the directors and calling them each by name. Travis had done his homework or rather memorized the materials someone had put together for him. He got the job. Good you thought, now he is out of your hair. Not a chance. Shortly after he settled in, he persuaded corporate to place you on a special task force that he was asked to chair.
Travis fits into the Level 2 category because he ignored all the signs of impending trouble in his division. Now that your success is tied to his, you might think about the benefits of convincing him that he needs to change his behavior if he expects to rise any higher in the company. That should get his attention.
Before you make your case with Travis, however, you will need to prepare several alternative strategies:
- Giving him a take-it-or-leave-it choice is not a good idea. Providing him with a list of options offers a better way for him to accept what you say without admitting that he is wrong.
- Rather than challenge him alone, bring others with you who support your position. It helps if he holds those you select in high regard or has worked with them successfully in the past.
- An alternative to the collective approach is to have each of your supporters approach him independently with the same or similar message.
- Put any verbal agreements or commitments he makes in writing using his words. Otherwise, he may deny ever having agreed with what you proposed.
- Provide testimonials from people he sees as important or prominent either in his profession or in his chain of command. Relevant quotations from public figures and notable personalities whom he admires will also help your case.
Once you have followed these steps, you have achieved your first objective, which is to neutralize any negative feelings he may have toward you or any desire he may have to shoot the messenger. Remember, at this level the incompetent in question may know how to do it right, but does not know why he should because he sees no personal benefit. That being the case your primary objective is to open a closed mind, not to change it. Therefore, be patient, gentle, kind, reverent, forbearing, but do not give up.