Refinement means to clarify something and ensure its purity, or to remove unwanted substances. This is done through incremental changes that create a purer version of what you already have.

Competence refined is a process of considering the 5 areas of competence and determining what specific details you need in each element for your particular purpose. It is a process of refining what Behaviours, Experiences, Abilities, Knowledge, and Skills you need to achieve the exact result that you are looking for.

Experience

The greatest challenge with experience is the inability to truly measure it. You may have worked in a position for 10 years but how much did you learn, grow and observe during that time, which made your performance improve month on month? This would make your experience truly count as 10 years of experience. As opposed to being employed for 10 years with no impression being made on you and no intellectual or emotional involvement that would adjust your behaviour.

The true value of experience comes in the form that develops your approach to things and enables a greater level of performance.

Ability

To be able means that you have the proficiency of doing something naturally. There are certain abilities that can be learnt, however, in principle, an ability is something innate, which you are born with. This means that either you can do it, or you can’t. An ability is the aptitude through which you have the wherewithal to do something that others may not be able to do.

Something like mathematics can be learnt, but some people have a natural ability to calculate things quickly and easily. Similarly, the ability to talk yourself out of something or through a difficult situation, is an ability that can be taught to a degree, but either you have it or you don’t.

Knowledge

To access and acquire facts and information is one of the easiest competencies to gain. However, the ability to apply this knowledge at relevant times, into pertinent situations is a competency that not all people possess. With knowledge comes an understanding of the subject matter beyond a simple accumulation of data. The use of information far outweighs the mere collection of facts which may never be used.

Knowledge for its own sake is meaningless, it is the application and use of knowledge that makes it a powerful resource.

Skills

Skills are the actions required to perform any task. The variety of skills are endless, but what is common through all skills is that there are activities needed to make something work. Some skills are interpersonal, such as communication, some are leadership or managerial; and others are practical, such as electrical or mechanical.

Skills are what makes any plan move forward. They are the most adaptable, learnable and implementable of all the competencies.

Behaviour

How you conduct yourself is the impression that people have of your levels of competence. That’s right. Whether you are competent or not; so, whether you possess the experience, abilities, knowledge, and skills required to do a job or function or not, becomes redundant of you are unable to show that you possess these expertise. It is purely in how you behave that people will decide that you are competent.

Behaviour is not only the display of competence; it is the demonstration of the culmination required to ensure that any phenomenon works. It has been said that actions speak louder than words. Behaviour is the only language which shows competence.

When you refine your levels of competence, you need to analyse all 5 aspects discussed above so that you contemplate what you need to do, and how you will finetune it so that your standards of competence are impressive. Your standards of competence exist to make an impression on both you and any stakeholders who it will be relevant to.