Managerial Competencies Underpin Performance

Successfully carrying out the strategizing, designing, and leading activities necessary to manage implementation organizations requires that managers possess certain competencies. In Chapter 4, a competency was defined as "a cluster of related knowledge, skills, and ability (sometimes referred to by the acronym SKA) that: 1) affect a major part of one's job (a role or responsibility), 2) correlate with performance on the job, 3) can be measured against well accepted standards, and 4) can be improved by training and development" (Lucia and Lepsinger 1999).

The managerial competencies required of managers in the organizations and agencies that implement policy—if they are to be able to do their work well—begin with policy competency as defined and discussed in depth in Chapter 4. The other necessary managerial competencies parallel to a great extent the classification developed by Katz (1974) of the competencies appropriate for work in the private sector: conceptual, technical, and interpersonal. Katz's concept of interpersonal skill is expanded to include competence in collaborating between and among organizations, yielding an interpersonal/collaborative competency. Each of these competencies is discussed below.

Policy In Chapter 4, policy competency was defined from the viewpoint of individu-Competency als, organizations, and groups affected by policy as the knowledge, skills, and abilities that permit one to successfully analyze the public policymaking process to the point of accurately assessing its impact on their domain of interest or responsibility on the one hand and to successfully exert influence in the public policymaking process on the other hand. With modest differences in focus and application, this definition works equally well for managers in policy implementing organizations.

It is important for managers of implementing organizations to understand the policymaking process in its entirety in order that through analysis they can predict the impact of numerous decisions on their domains of responsibility. For example, decisions that determine an organization's budget and the scope of its implementation responsibilities are obvious policies that affect the organization. Similarly, the essence of managing an implementing organization is to be able to exert influence in the policymaking process, albeit from inside the process rather than as an outsider seeking to influence the process.

Conceptual In all organizational settings, possession of an adequate cluster of conceptual Competency knowledge and skills is a competency that permits managers to envision the places and roles of their organization or agency in the larger context within which they exist. This competency also allows managers to visualize the complex interrelationships within their workplace—relationships among staff and other resources and among departments or other units. Adequate conceptual competency allows managers to identify, understand, and interact with their organization's or agency's myriad external and internal stakeholders—that is, with the individuals, groups, organizations, and agencies that have an interest or stake in the decisions and actions ofthe organization or agency. Conceptual competency also enhances managers' abilities to comprehend organizational cultures and historically developed values, beliefs, and norms and to visualize the future of their organization or agency.

Technical The cluster of knowledge and associated skills that comprise technical compe-Competency tency pertains to competence in managing—in knowing how to effectively strategize, design, and lead—and in the actual direct work of a particular agency or organization. For example, managers in FDA must know about managing and about at least some aspects of food or drug safety and efficacy. Managers in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (www.cdc.gov) must know about managing and about some aspects of developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, or health promotion and education activities designed to help in the pursuit of health.

An important ingredient in managerial success in any setting is the cluster Interpersonal/ of knowledge and skills related to human interactions by which managers Collaborative direct or lead others in pursuit of objectives. Interpersonal competency in- C°mpetency corporates knowledge and skills useful in effectively interacting with others. This competency includes the knowledge and related skills that permit managers to develop and instill a common vision and stimulate a determination to pursue the vision and fulfill objectives related to it. The essence of the interpersonal competency of managers is knowledge of and skills in motivating people, communicating their visions and preferences, handling negotiations, and managing conflicts.

The core elements of traditional interpersonal competency expand considerably when organizations or agencies are involved in collaboration or cooperative endeavors involving other organizations or agencies. Interpersonal relationships that occur within organizations differ from those that occur among or between collaborating organizations, agencies, or different levels of government. Collaborative competency is the ability to partner with other entities. This requires the ability to create and maintain multiparty organizational arrangements; to negotiate complex agreements, perhaps even contracts, that sustain these arrangements; and to produce mutually beneficial outcomes through such arrangements.

A partnering skill crucial to success in establishing and maintaining effective interorganizational or interagency collaborations is the ability of managers to develop shared cultures, or at least to minimize the differences that exist in the cultures ofcollaborating entities. In this context, culture is the pattern ofshared values and beliefs that become ingrained in organizations or agencies over time and that influence the behaviors and decisions ofthe people in them. Collaborating organizations and agencies frequently have different cultures, which complicates the relationships between or among them.

Within organizations or agencies, conflict management responsibilities primarily involve managers in issues of intrapersonal conflict (within a person), interpersonal conflict (between or among individuals), intragroup conflict (within a group), or intergroup conflict (between or among groups). In interorganizational or interagency collaborations, managers become involved in managing conflicts between and among the participating organizations or agencies.

When more than one organization or agency is involved in the implementation of a policy, as is frequently the case, the capability of the implementing organizations to work collaboratively to carry out implementation responsibilities is highly important to success. Rarely is a health policy implemented by a single organization, and never when the policy is large in scope. The responsibility for implementing the Medicaid program, for example, does not rest entirely with a single organization. It involves the federal agency CMS working with the Medicaid agencies in each state and with such private-sector organizations as hospitals, nursing homes, and health plans. The successful implementation of the Medicaid program depends heavily on the quality of the interactions among these and other organizations. Even more likely to call collaborative capabilities into play are situations in which several different implementing organizations are required to coordinate and integrate their implementation responsibilities for a variety of policies, all intended, in one way or another, to address a particular problem. It is not unusual for a chief executive (president or governor) to issue an executive order directing two or more agencies to work collaboratively or to establish a mechanism such as a joint task force to facilitate such collaboration, as is illustrated in The Real World of Health Policy: Governor Establishes Office of Health Care Reform.

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