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With this edition of the Navigator we welcome the year 2020, and OSI's 40th year in business. We began our journey in the fall of 1980 as a company founded on the combination of solid science, and best-practice consulting art, in selecting and developing organizational leaders. Along the way we've accumulated a collection of wonderful customers and collaborators who we intend to honor and celebrate this year. Stay tuned for more as our 40th year unfolds!
The steady loss of jobs resulting from a dramatic and accelerating work place shift to automation, as well as the general trend toward a more knowledge-based economy, has left many experienced workers needing to reset their lives as they shift to new careers. It can be disappointing and disheartening to abandon accumulated knowledge gained in one field, when forced to change to a totally new career. Of course, as workers grew their field-specific skills, they have also been developing other, more generic skillsets. They've learned to be efficient (manage time), the importance of team play (how to build work relationships), how solve problems and make decisions, the importance of being good communicators, and how to influence outcomes. These extremely valuable skillsets are transferable to other work content and contexts. As these experienced workers retrain themselves in a new field, wouldn't it be rewarding and ego-boosting if they could get academic credit for these very important skillsets they've spent years developing in the workplace?
Recently OSI was involved in a pilot project with an established university that combined our deep understanding of the competence required for exceptional performance across organizations, with our expertise in the tried-and-true assessment center methodology, to award academic credit for universal skillsets to undergraduates in a variety of degree programs. Employing the robust assessment center methodology that uses simulations to emulate work situations (e.g., meetings, presentations, interviews, in-baskets, etc.), participants were measured against a standard of proficiency required in typical team settings. Performance rated by expert assessors at or above a level of proficiency required to add value in organizational contexts, was awarded academic credit. Competencies measured included the universally-valid "soft" skillsets of Organizing & Planning, Problem Solving & Decision Making, Informal and Formal Communications, Interpersonal Skills, and Influence. Participants were able to earn up to 18 units of credit in this two day experience.
Several participant examples stand out as particularly illustrative. Student A had been with a big box retailer for over 15 years, but automation had resulted in a lay off, and he was now enrolled in a hospitality undergraduate program to turn his career in a new direction. Student B had been in health care as a paramedic and paramedic instructor, but an injury ended that career, and he was now shifting to information technology for his restart. Both had many years of successful contributions in different work settings, and during the assessment center simulations, both proved their proficiency in similar transferable skillsets. In both cases they earned significant academic credit to accelerate their journey to a bachelor's degree. And it was also extremely gratifying to see the confidence boost as they got "credit" for these important employability skillsets! A case in point, a young female participant who performed exceptionally well, and received the maximum credit allowed. It opened her eyes to her true potential, and the validation sent her back to work motivated and inspired.

For those of us who have worked in private and public sector organizations for decades, it has long made sense to us that colleges and universities add or emphasize these skillsets to their current degree programs. This addition does not need to compromise the other benefits of a college education, but a primary motive for attending college is career preparation. So why not make explicit the "soft skills" that turn out to be extremely hard predictors of success in most organizational settings? And then, why not award credit and/or teach those skillsets in the context of degree preparation? Of course this requires two absolutely essential foundational elements: a credible model of skillsets (competencies) needed in the work place, and the robust, behavior-based methodology (assessment center) that 50+ years of experience can provide. These two essentials have long been employed in the private sector in the context of succession planning and selection, and are also needed more than ever as baby boomers retire at record levels and succession management becomes extremely important. OSI's Polaris ® Competency Model and our 40+ year history with assessment centers offer a ready remedy in both this article's featured academic setting, and in company succession management!  
For more information about Polaris ®, Assessment Centers, or  Polaris ® licenses please contact OSI at 858.455.0923 or email Crystal Matsuura at .

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

© 2020 Organization Systems International
Polaris® Certification Workshop
On Wednesday, March 11th, OSI will be holding a Polaris® Certification Workshop. This one day workshop will be for coaches and/or HR professionals interested in the OSI Polaris® Competency Model and its supporting applications, especially the 360 degree survey. If you are interested in further information or to register, please click  here  or contact Crystal Matsuura at  or 858.455.0923.

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 our 40th year 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.


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