Workshop 9 - Competency, Part 2

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As a follow-up to our previous workshop on Competency, four of the Green Garage's businesses-in-residence developed presentations relating to the competencies required for their businesses; core competencies, business competencies, competencies found within the business and those that are gained through partnerships.

Animal Intuition: Adrienne Wisok

After having worked through the Seed process, Adrienne's idea evolved to developing a consulting business based on animal ethics. There are no standards in existence for this type of consulting service.

Adrienne developed this worksheet for Animal Intuition. In it she lists the basic core and business competencies required to conduct her business. For each task she rates her level of competency and how and in what timeframe she hopes to improve.


  • Adrienne recognizes that she is weakest in business competencies as she has the least amount of experience in these areas, but she expects to gain skill gradually over time.
  • She has a deep leg in a couple of core competencies
  • Hers will be an immersive process, getting to know the person/animal and situation well before making any prescriptions, rather than just observing and prescribing.
  • She will focus on how to deliver a service well.
  • Her only competition will be herself; no one else doing work of this kind at this level and in this way.
  • She feels it is important to find clients who understand what it is that she does and why it is valuable.
  • Adrienne's next task is to define her services. By defining her competencies, she has a made huge first step in defining her services.
  • Developing this list has been very helpful in showing Adrienne where her strengths and deficiencies are.

Final Five: Matt Dibble

Matt developed 2 competency charts for Final Five:

  • Final Five focuses mostly on corporate storytelling, a new way of marketing which allows others to come along on your journey.
  • Charting out competencies in this manner has shown Matt how work flows in his business, and also has revealed some areas of weakness that he would like to improve.
  • This process has also helped him to understand how both he and those he partners with can work better together, improve their skills, and get to a world class level of expertise in certain areas.

Detroit R&R Cars: Mike Shesterkin

Link to Mike Shesterkin's presentation: Media:DetroitRRCars CompetencyModel.pdf

  • The idea behind Detroit R&R Cars is to repair vehicles that have been involved in an accident in order to recover the value of that vehicle.
  • The collision repair/insurance system is wasteful and highly dysfunctional. Many vehicles that are damaged in an accident are "totaled" by insurance companies, but these decisions are based solely on economic measures and not on the recoverability of the vehicle itself.
  • Value is being thrown away and melting down steel is a process highly toxic to the environment.
  • Mike would like to apply the concept of sustainability to auto repair/refurbishment.
  • Repairing vehicles could provide employment.
  • In Mike’s case, there is nobody doing this work today, so he’ll be doing definitional work on this. He’ll have to inch into proficiency in a lot of these core competencies and then find some experts in related areas to help him develop this business. Most of Mike’s competencies are on the business side at this point. He’ll have to learn, to some degree, the core competencies.

Red Panda: Curt Malouin

Curt's thoughts on competency requirements for Red Panda, a business that builds sound effect pedals for electric guitars:

  • Increase capacity by reducing competency requirements: If skills are simplified, there will be more people who can do the work for you - you don't need to hire experts to do simple jobs.
  • Hire novices and train them to the proficiency you need.
  • Simplify design to a level that lower-skilled people can do the work and you will have more time for design.
  • If you have more time to spend on design for manufacturability, you can improve design making it more efficient.
  • Design for variability in people and materials. If you design for standard tolerances, then you can send work out to many different places and you can greatly increase your capacity. This will permit you to spend less time managing people.
  • Automation - have robots do work instead of people.
  • Inside vs Outside jobs: Curt used to do all the circuit boards himself but now they are mostly done in the factory. However, he upgraded his soldering station, so that now they can do the soldering faster than the factory. The internal/external line fluctuates with his business depending on what percentage of the work they want the factory to do for them - he allows for a lot of flexibility.
  • Curt business design allows him to stay in the expert - world class level, because he is giving himself more time to design, grow, develop, and adjust to changes in business.
  • What is the best use of your time? What’s best way to grow your own skills? The time you invest in your work should be moving you down the road to improving your business while giving someone else employment.
  • If you want to do the manual work yourself, then you probably don’t want to have your own business - you would be better working for someone else.
  • Step back - work on your business, not in your business.
  • Do each task at least once before you try to find someone else to do that job so you understand what you’re trying to manage (not 100% of all jobs, but maybe 80%?) It's also good cover if an employee leaves suddenly - at least you will be able to take over the work yourself.