What does your organization do when it wants to hire or promote the best person for a specific job or leadership position? The traditional answer is to test people for their IQ, technical skills to do the job, their personality or just by looking at their CV.

The late David McClelland, an American psychological theorist, identified a better way. He proposed that an organization should first study employees who are already top performers in that role, and systematically compare them with those who are just average performers.

What McClelland found was that a set of distinguishing competencies emerged: competencies that the top performers exhibited and the average performers did not.

Once you have identified those distinguished competencies, you can use those as a basis to hire or promote people who have the basic competencies to do the job plus the distinguishing competencies or help your people develop those strengths.

Using this methodology will help you develop a competency model that you can use to identify, train, and promote the next generation of top performers in your organization.