Proficient Today, Perhaps Incompetent Tomorrow?

Blog 2 in a series of 3 on the IABC Career Assessment

One of the characteristics of Thomas Friedman's creative and collaborative "flat world" is the necessity of lifelong learning. People need to find tools and resources to prepare for future work. He proposes that professionals make a social contract with themselves to embark on their lifelong learning journey. Friedman suggests learning with an open mind by focusing on two crucial details – critically filtering what is available and subscribing only to the best sources.

With a lifelong learning attitude as a backdrop, use the IABC Assessment Tool and the IABC Proficiency Metric to guide your professional learning plan. In our previous blog, we said that more than a thousand communication professionals completed the assessment and got a report on their career status – most of them were at the Strategic Advisor level.

Dr. Hamilton-Attwell questions those results. “Do not get me wrong, you might be on a strategic advisor level, but I want to warn against the "halo" effect when doing assessments like the IABC Assessment Tool. My concern is that some takers selected the number(s) on the proficiency scale without knowing what the actual proficiency number means on the rubric. The unfortunate result will be that communication professionals will stifle their continuous development and lifelong learning in their effort to "look good" in their report or "get a high score." Understanding the Proficiency Metric first, gives takers a more realistic report to guide the development of their learning plan.”

The IABC Proficiency Metric

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Notice the proficiency metric indicates the following levels - Developing, Novice, Independent, Intermediate, Advanced, Accomplished and Mastered. Each proficiency level outlines proficiency characteristics to qualify for the level. For example, at the Novice level, the person has done a particular task, e.g., a strategic plan, a few times but would require assistance to gain the necessary experience to do it independently. In the Mastered proficiency, the person holds in-depth knowledge of the diverse application using the process or topic with supporting evidence from multiple situations on their resume.

If completed honestly, the result indicates to the test taker what resources are available to improve their proficiency in the lowest-scoring areas. This result is precious in the quest for lifelong learning because if you are honest about your abilities, the guidance given for your journey becomes far more valuable to success. However, you will get misguided recommendations if you rate yourself at the level you want to be and not where you are.

It's time to take the IABC Career Assessment Tool to continue your lifelong learning journey.

Here are a few tips:

  • Allot time for the assessment to cruise at a speed that lets you consider the possibilities sparked by the list of statements in the assessment.
  • Let yourself think and creatively explore each statement. You might even jot something down as it pops into your head.
  • Follow the assessment instructions provided online. Remember, you are the only person who sees your report. And you can go back as often or whenever you want.
  • Refer to the chart above to determine where your level of proficiency lies today, right now. Print the chart, if needed, to guide your rating.
  • Consider if you might have been more proficient at something earlier in your career but being realistic today, you could use a “refresher course.”

Once you receive and download your assessment report, review the findings to focus on where you want to go and who you want to become. If not, you may find you're proficient today but incompetent tomorrow as the communication profession continues to flatten.

Next up in preparation for the 13 April 2023 webinar is take the online IABC Career Assessment. And, register for the Fuel Your Career - An Adventure in Professional Development webinar on 13 April 2023.

Upon completion of the assessment and before the webinar, read our final blog, A Little Heart to Heart with Me.

This is the second blog in a series of three on the IABC Career Self-Assessment tool for communication professionals.

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Amanda Hamilton-Attwell

Amanda Hamilton-Attwell, Ph.D., IABC Fellow, ABC, CPRP, RCC, is the founder of BusinessDNA, Pretoria, South Africa and a Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence member.

For over three decades, she has assisted companies in optimising communication to benefit the organisation’s strategic imperatives. BusinessDNA, the company she started 22 years ago, specialises in strategic planning, research and measurement, assisting business leaders in developing their competence and confidence in communication with their teams, producing state-of-the-art communication content and channels and communication coaching for executive leaders.

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Mary Hills

Mary Hills, MA, IABC Fellow, ABC, Six Sigma, serves as a Professional/Scholar in Residence in Loyola University Chicago’s MS Global Strategic Communication program and as Professional and Organizational Development Faculty for the Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence. Her career has encompassed work at top 100 corporate companies in Chicago. Most recently, she was Business Principle of HeimannHills Marketing Group, Chicago and Phoenix. Utilizing her expertise in business management and communication, she published, in 2020, the Business of Business for Communication Professionals on-demand course to upskill communication professionals as they pursue communication management positions Her industry leadership and work in marketing and strategic communication has been recognized with the IABC Southern Region Hall of Fame Recipient (2022), IABC Rae Hamlin Award (2021), Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce – Fellow (2018), IABC Fellow (2016), IABC Chicago Karen Utterback Award (2015) and IABC Chairman’s Award (2012).