Executive and Professional Competencies for Economic Developers

Getting the right people on the right bus, in the right seats, is key to building a great organization!  IEDC has just released a new guide designed to make this task easier. "Executive and Professional Competencies for Economic Developers" presents well-vetted guidelines that help individuals and economic development organizations understand the core competencies necessary for success in the profession.

The guide presents two models: one that defines the leadership competencies of high-performing executives, and a second that defines key competencies for professional economic development staff. The evaluations can be used for employee selection, assessment, development, performance management and succession planning, setting paths for professional and leadership development that improve both individual and organizational performance.

What prompted this initiative?

Private industry is diligent about developing the leadership capabilities of employees that it identifies as emerging leaders. At a strategic planning meeting in 2010, the IEDC board of directors identified personal skill and leadership development as important for our profession as well. IEDC has done a terrific job of imparting technical skills to people, but less in the way of enhancing their managerial capabilities.

After researching ways to get that effort started, a group of board volunteers began working with CMA, a St. Louis-based management consulting firm. The group initially focused on developing competency models in two principle areas, technical staff and management. Then, with the help of the consultant, we conducted focus groups at several IEDC conferences during 2011 to enhance the input to the competency models and refine them.

I view this guide as the first step in enhancing the leadership and management capabilities in our field. I'm hopeful that IEDC will continue to expand and deepen these contributions to the economic development profession.