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the “Gets It Done” competency

Posted by Amy Wilson on October 7, 2009

What competencies do you track in your library?   Adaptability?  Problem Solving?  Collaboration?  Innovation?

I agree that these are all excellent capabilities to keep mindful of, to develop and nourish, and to call out when you see them in people.  But, what a manager or business leader really wants to know is will this person “get it done”?  Will they make the project successful no matter what? Will they get the deal done with the expected margin?  Will they take care of everything so I don’t have to worry and can spend my time doing something else??

Getting it done is a quality that encompasses several competencies, such as adapting to change, solving problems, and collaborating effectively.  At the same time, it is mutually exclusive.  Just because someone is a good problem solver doesn’t mean they have the tenacity to get the solution executed.

Getting it done is a quality that spans career levels – though it morphs from “doing” to “making things happen.”  The traditional competencies “Results Orientation” and “Driving Results” touch on this quality, but still do not paint the whole picture.  These competencies suggest that the result is the only thing, when in reality, getting it done requires a balance of priorities – knowing when to work relationships, when to plan for catastrophes, and when to put nose to the grindstone.

Managers and Business Leaders actually track this quality today.  They just do so in their memory, not in a system.  Most jobs are found through social networks today because “Mike” remembers that so-and-so could get it done.  Or he trusts so-and-so to tell him who else can get it done.

How about you?  Do you know who gets it done?

Hat tip to Jerri Walker of Oracle Consulting who seeded this idea.  Thanks Jerri!

picture source: cbssports.com

8 Responses to “the “Gets It Done” competency”

  1. Thank you. That’s it.

  2. Meg Bear said

    Agree 100% — I was talking about something similar in my “navigate barriers” post. I think this is probably one of the biggest things I look for in people and I agree we should formalize it as a requirement (since it is!).

  3. Amy Wilson said

    Folks – Meg’s Navigating Barriers post is worth a read or a re-read:

    I just read it again, and it’s good!

  4. Mark said

    Agreed, but it is only one of the dozen or so leadership comptetencies your company should have defined based on it’s unique culture.

    If you focus to much on this one, you end up with mgrs who “get it done,” but “leave dead bodies in their wake” — and end up flaming out.

    But yes, isn’t great performance/leadership, almost by definition, “getting it done?”

    p.s. I don’t understand the “mutually exclusive” part of your second paragraph.

    Maybe “getting it done” is not a competency, but the ultimate goal (by utilizing competencies)?

  5. Amy Wilson said

    Thanks for your comments Mark!

    I *may* have used “mutually exclusive” incorrectly here (it bothered me the whole ride home after writing this post 🙂 ). What I intended to say was that it doesn’t go both ways. Perhaps getting it done involves good problem solving, but being a good problem solver is generally insufficient. It’s a special recipe that supports the quality; all aspects need to be in place, working together.

  6. Ravi Banda said

    I agree with you Amy.

    A manager’s usual tendency is to push lot more work to the “get it done” team members thereby burning them out. And my solution to this is that a manager should identify the people in their team that have the traits to develop the “get it done” quality and personally I look for people with
    – Problem solving skills
    – Commitment to deadlines
    – High quality of deliverables
    – Self-driven

    Initially a person may have some of the above traits but if they are provided them with right opportunities and guidance, they can easily develop the “get it done” quality.

  7. JV Singh said

    Something I read on hiring the ‘Gets things done’ types:

  8. Amy Wilson said

    Thanks – great article JV!

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