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Welcome to this edition of the Navigator and Q4 of 2019. We hope you are having a good year!

In this edition, we explore options for managing the Polaris ® Competency Library. As always we invite your comments and discussion.
A recent conversation with a customer prompted some reflection on how to manage a complete organizational competency library for our Polaris ® licensees. Of typical concern across Polaris ® licensees is how to present, and manage, the three dozen plus competencies required in a complete competency set. Like a well-stocked kitchen, typical competency libraries need all the ingredients necessary to create an ideal individual contributor, an ideal first line supervisor, an ideal middle manager, and an ideal strategic leader. Necessarily, a subset of competencies, like Communications Skills, cut across ALL these levels in the talent pipeline. But there are some competencies that are categorical, i.e., they correlate highly with success at a particular talent pipeline level. Here's a suggested subset of seven Polaris ® competencies that might be isolated for just the most senior roles, and then set aside from a general listing as a way of streamlining any licensed Polaris ® competency library.


  • Risk-Taking
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Visioning
This is a basic executive skill set - a senior leader must be able to understand, formulate, and motivate organizational membership to realize a bold agenda and vision.  Setting strategy, narrating a preferred future (the organization's vision) and betting the company on new directions, mergers, acquisitions, etc. are the purview of the C suite. 

  • Diplomacy
Lack of skill in power and politics is one of the quickest derailers at the senior level. Especially important are external relationships, i.e., dealing with the BOD, shareholders, or important customers.

  • Financial Acumen
While most roles are represented as a line item on the income statement, senior leaders, especially in publicly traded organizations, are ALL expected to understand the financial reporting, and standing, of their organizations.  

  • Business Thinking
Senior leaders are THE integrating factor in ensuring synergy across the entire enterprise. Being systems thinkers and encouraging collaboration across line (manufacturing, operations, distribution, sales, marketing, etc.) and staff (HR, IT, Legal, Finance, etc.) won't happen unless senior leaders understand and skillfully make it happen.  

  • Change Agility
Leading successful change is a key job responsibility for senior leaders. A leader's behavior IS the standard for the organization. They must operate with integrity and understand that what they pay attention to gets attention. Of course everyone in an organization must flex and adapt, but competencies like Composure and Learning Agility are sufficient for entry roles.

Any categorization of competencies must be presented as a guideline, NOT a rule, as there are roles (for example a Key Account Sales Representative) that may be an individual contributor but may require proficiency in a senior skill set, like Strategic Thinking, to credibly propose a solution. But in general, categorization of competencies can help winnow and simplify presentation of an entire library.
For more information about Polaris ® and Polaris ® licenses please contact OSI at 858.455.0923 or email Crystal Matsuura at .

If you have comments or experiences, please share with OSI! 

© 2019 Organization Systems International
Welcome to the Newest Members of the Polaris® Family
OSI is pleased to announce Dynamic Lifecycle Innovation, Travel Oregon, Strategic Education, Inc. and City of Santa Maria as the newest members to the Polaris® license community.

OSI would also like to recognize our new partnership with the NOTO Group in Portland, OR. NOTO Group is a purpose-driven executive search and consulting firm with expertise in recruiting for Director, VP and C-Level roles. We look forward to collaborating around Polaris ® competency applications.

Certificate Program in Organization Development and Change Leadership 
For the past several years, Bruce has had the privilege of serving on the Advisory Board for an upcoming certificate program sponsored by The D rucker  School of Management - Claremont Graduate University. This upcoming 3-phased program is designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of professionals responsible for making change happen. This program is less than 4 months and consists of three online e-learning modules for pre-work, a 3-day in-person workshop, and three online practice and support coach sessions. This is truly a transnational course of study, incorporating the most effective learning modalities and customized to each participant.

In-Person Dates: November 6 - 8, 2019
Location: San Diego, CA
For More Information and to Register:
Book Links:
Co-authored by our very own president/senior consultant, Bruce Griffiths, and our business partner, Enrique Washington. Competencies at Work is a thorough, yet digestible look at contemporary competency modeling. It will equip readers to understand, build, and implement competency models as a foundational and integrating element in talent management systems. Readers will understand how competency models have evolved to be the current best-pr actice in defining criteria for all talent management applications such as selection interviews, promotion panels, assessment centers, job descriptions, and learning objectives. The book also provides specific guidance in the steps needed to establish a sustainable model, with research results on universal competencies contained in most contemporary models.

Competencies at Work is available now through Business Expert Press or Amazon.

Co-authored by our very own president/senior consultant, Bruce Griffiths, and our business partner, Nina Jones Morel. Redefining Competency Based Education provides an expanded definition of career competence, based on actual employer hiring and promotion requirements, which enhances university curricula to better prepare students for work and life. Readers will learn how private sector competency models have evolved to define criteria for hiring, promoting, and training talent. 

Redefining Competency Based Education is available now through  Business Expert Press  or  Amazon .
At Organization Systems International, we are celebrating over 38 years of quality, service, and innovation. We deliver client success with a high-performance approach designed to enhance occupational relationships, improve operational efficiency, and sustain customer relationships.

American Greetings
Avery Dennison
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Bowling Green State University
Dow Corning Corp.
GE Capital
Hydro Flask
Insurance Company of the West
Johns Lyng Group
Lawrence Livermore National Labs
L Brands

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Nike, Inc.
Portland State University
Schneider Trucking Company
Standard Insurance Company
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State Auto Insurance
University of California, San Diego
The Walt Disney Company
Wendy's International Inc.