Skills and Competences for Intelligence Professionals Part 4: The Skill Matrix
As discussed in part 2, there are 3 skill / competence categories for intelligence professionals: technical intelligence skills, management and leadership skills, and interpersonal or relationship skills (the soft skills). If you are in charge of an intelligence department, it is important that you have the right people with the skills in the right place in your organization. Having people there does not mean that they will stay there forever, though.
Creating a matrix where you match skills with functional grade will help you in managing today’s business, as well as and planning your team’s career.
How do you build the skill matrix?
For each major intelligence activity, such as needs analysis, data collection and analytics, you write down what an intelligence professional should be able to accomplish. In terms of the technical skills of Intelligence expertise, it is in fact the application and intelligence specific knowledge, skills and required associated capabilities that drive the quality of the intelligence activities and deliverables for better business results.
For instance, a key competence is the knowledge and skills of an intelligence professional has on data collection or data mining or data analysis.
Secondly, you define how many experience grades for this function should exist. This is based on the size of the company, the complexity of the business, the size of the team, the growth expectation, to name a few.
In the company I worked for I had 7 different levels of intelligence experience and capabilities:
Grade 6: Basic Knowledge (often people fresh from school or their first job in intelligence)
Grade 7: Some experience
Grade 8: Skilled
Grade 9: Professional
Grade 10: Expertise
Grade 11: Subject matter expert or management skills
Grade 12: Subject matter expert and management skills
This split allows you to write the criteria for a particular intelligence activity.
This is what you need to do for all intelligence activities and related skills / competences.
Here is another example:
My complete matrix consisted of 15 different Key Drivers.
This gives clarity for all intelligence people in your team, but also to your manager and HR.
Why build a skill matrix?
You can use this kind of matrix for career development of your team as well. How often do you get a request for promotion form a direct report? What are the criteria for grade (and salary raise)? Now you can say: You are currently a grade 8.
Looking at the criteria for the different intelligence activities, here is where you score well, here are areas for improvement. So, start with working on the improvement areas. We will measure that in 6 months from now. And start working on the next levels in the areas where you are coring well today.
The measurement should involve opinions from stakeholders. A 360 assessment can help here, too.
Build a matrix, try it out. You will see it help you to build a future-proof intelligence department without gaps.
In part 5 we will go deeper into skill and competence development.
By Joost Drieman
Photo: Death to Stock
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