Monday, 15 March 2010

Are you a Homo Competens? Bert De Coutere can tell

Last week I met Bert De Coutere during a preliminary meeting on a platform site for eLearning in Belgium. Bert is a great learning person to know. He is involved in learning management at IBM and as such he has given so many presentations, lessons, workshops… that I think he is one of the sole people you can just ask to stand up and share knowledge on any learning strategy. His motto is: learn, do, share! And … he is Competent!

But how can we tell anyone is actually competent? How do you know you are competent and can we measure it? Well, Bert came up with a wonderful book on the topic. The book is called Homo Competens: let's talk about competent people in the network age; or HoCo for short. The book has a lot of links and references and it is updated regularly (contemporary eBook).

If you are into human resources, change management, or management as such, you might want to buy this book. In just as little as 196 pages Bert opens up a framework for measuring competency.

Now, this is the first book of Bert on the subject and as such he covers all the basics. The book also features some introspective questions, which lead you to think about yourself in a more Socratic way. Is what you think you are really true? And clear for others?

Some of the key pointers from the book:
  • You build and maintain competencies by doing three kinds of activities: you learn, you do and you share. You do these all at once, but the biggest category of activity will determine your level as apprentice, practitioner or master.
  • Competencies have only indirect value. The real value is in what you DO, not in what you are ABLE to do.
  • The ownership of your competence is shared amongst yourself, your employer and your government. In this day and age, you have the biggest claims on your competence. Therefore you re the prime responsible for selecting them and investing in them.
  • When you are craving for recognition, share!
The book makes you think. As I was reading, I mostly agreed, but sometimes disagreed with what Bert wrote, and that – to me – makes up a good professional book, as I feel that I am thinking, I know I am learning (adding to my competency).

If you want to look around first, check out the Google books or just simply jump on it and buy it from Lulu (the eBook is only 10 USD!).

I found it a wonderful read, and the book really made a difference in how I analyze my own competency. So I agree with what Clive Shepherd wrote “I know because Bert told me so.”

Bert, I am already looking forward to the follow up book! If you want to stay on top of Bert's activities, you can follow his blog.

The book is also stuffed with Bert's drawings (REALLY nice feature), here are some of them: