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Blog : The (Skills) Matrix


The (Skills) Matrix

A friend of mine is at a crossroads in their role at work and so we met up last week to discuss.

Following a recent acquisition, the company Claire works for has more than doubled in size and as a result she now has several different career opportunities to consider. As the current finance director, Claire is considered a dynamic managing director of the future and was instrumental in the acquisition of the other business. She is viewed as a key member of the management team and definitely securely placed inside the box called 'talent'.

Claire's manager, and the company’s managing director, is extremely keen to secure her future in the company and hopes to see Claire growing within the business over the next few years. So much so that as soon as the acquisition deal went through a new contract was offered with increased salary and a 12 month notice period.

In the last month, Claire met with the managing director to discuss her career options within the business. Three were presented: operations director; chief finance officer or chief information and systems officer.

Although this sounds like a nice situation to be in, Claire was in two minds as what to do next - a wrong move at this stage of her career could be pretty damaging.

So in a quiet corner of our local country pub we went through each of the three job descriptions; looking at the pros and cons to each role in the hope this would make her decision a little easier – alas it did not!

Therefore, in my quest to achieve an outcome (as opposed to a large bar bill), I thought back to some of the tools I've come across during my career at the ‘Purple Palace’ that would help add some structure to our conversation.

I decided we should produce a skills matrix for each role, whereby listing the key skills and characteristics mentioned in the job descriptions and adding some other common sense attributes we felt would be a must have.

I then went through each point with Claire to explore her compatibility to each role and considered any other people in the organisation who might also be in the frame for the job.

We then looked at some other areas that could impact Claire’s decision:

  • Cultural fit
  • Role’s alignment to Claire’s own value system
  • Opportunity for progression
  • Potential relationship with line manager
  • Location/travel
  • Salary

(NB: these are all areas which appear as important in learnpurple’s annual research projects)

What had initially started out as a chat over a quick drink had quickly turned into a fully blown careers discussion which needed two table moves in order to spread all of our papers out!

Whilst the skills matrix is a very simple exercise, it forced Claire to think differently about the future and allowed her to make an informed decision based on her career aspirations. It also highlighted areas she could develop and would be vital for her future success alongside skills that were less important for her career path. And to top it off, having all of this information to hand is also helping Claire prepare for the job interviews; allowing her to structure a considered argument as to why she is perfect for the job!

Here at learnpurple, we’re always thinking about how we can best provide organisations and individuals with skills analysis through our online performance and talent management tool; talent toolbox. Being able to review skills gaps and competence at the touch of a button seems to be very popular. How do you do it?

Ready to get in touch?