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Note (June 4, 2003): This competency profile will be revised to be consistent with the new Alberta public service competency model. Information on that model is available at: http://www.pao.gov.ab.ca/learning/competencies/apscomp/index.html.

On this page:
Competency Description
Developing Competence - Tips for Staff
Developing Competence - Tips for Supervisors
Preparing for an Interview - Possible Questions

Organizational Awareness Demonstrates understanding of formal and informal structure. Demonstrates understanding of climate and culture Demonstrates understanding of organization's informal relationships. Demonstrates understanding of underlying organizational issues.
Understanding business plan goals. Recognizes or uses the surface structure and/or informal relationships of own or others' organizations.  Knows who to ask for what, and when (i.e. "chain of command", positional power, rules and regulations). Recognizes unspoken organizational limitations - what is and is not possible at certain times or in certain positions.  Incorporates into actions when needed. Understands, describes and works with ongoing informal relationships within own or others' organizations, with a clear sense of their organizational impact. Understands and addresses the long term reasons (internal/ external or formal/ informal forces) for ongoing problems within the organization.
  Administrative Support Professional Managers Executive Managers

Behaviour Ideas for On-the-Job Competency Development
Demonstrate understanding of formal and informal structure.
  • Seek out a resident "expert" to act as your mentor.  This person can describe the formal rules, and clue you in to the unwritten rules of the organization as well.
  • Get to know your peers cross-functionally.  Find out what they do and what processes or rules they follow, especially those that may have an impact on you or your group.
  • Keep a file of the people you contact, so you will know whom to call when you need advice or support.
  • Study the goals and strategies of your department and identify how your work and the work of your work unit supports those goals and strategies.
Demonstrate understanding of climate and culture.
  • Initiate a meeting or lunch with a seasoned manager or co-worker.  Ask this person to share his or her knowledge of the organization history, how decisions are made, what is important, etc.
  • Look for opportunities to lunch or socialize with others outside the normal work environment, or perhaps after hours when informal discussions about the organization take place.
Demonstrate understanding of organization's informal relationships.
  • Ask an experienced person to act as your coach or mentor.  Ask this person:
    • Who are the people who can make things happen?  In each group?
    • Who are the key players in a particular group?  What are the dynamics of that group?
    • What is important to the key players?
    • Of whom do you have to be careful?
  • Connect with the informal communications system by making it your job to keep people informed.
  • Develop relationships with individuals throughout the organization.  Take note of who has influence and the support of their peers at all levels of the organization.
Demonstrate understanding of underlying organizational issues.
  • Read the department's business plan.  Ask your supervisor to explain the context of any goals you don't understand.
  • Ask your supervisor to use you as a "stand-in" when he or she is unable to attend key meetings.
  • Compile a list of the things you would like to find out about the department that would help you perform more effectively.  Seek individuals or documents that can provide the information you need.
  • Volunteer to participate on cross-functional teams or other workgroups that will expose you to areas beyond your own work unit.
  • List three things you can do personally to help the department achieve its business plan goals.  Discuss these with your supervisor.

Type of Support Ideas for Developing Staff
  • Assign the employee to work with a coach or mentor who can provide the appropriate advice.
  • Meet with staff to discuss business plan goals and how those goals can be achieved.
  • Review work plans and progress on those work plans regularly with staff.
  • Encourage informal discussion around organizational climate and culture.
  • Encourage participation in cross-functional activity and interdepartmental initiatives, so employees can learn more about the "bigger picture".
  • Ask the employee to stand in for you when you cannot attend key meetings.
Role Modeling
  • Ensure you maintain good relationships within and outside the department, so you can share information, ideas and contacts with employees.

Page Last Updated:
June 4, 2003

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