By Dennis J. Kravetz (Kravetz Associates Publishing, $34.95)
So here's another book about competencies. While the subtitle, cover art and jacket flap convey the impression that this book is largely about dollars, the text focuses much more on defining competencies and creating and using employee surveys and other instruments.
Author Dennis Kravetz, an experienced consultant and writer, does a good job of describing common conflicts (for instance, the competencies listed on the job description aren't the ones on the evaluation, and neither matches the manager's idea of what the employee should be doing). He also offers, with a golf metaphor, one of the best explanations I've ever seen of the difference between a skill and a competency.
Still, there's not much new here. There are discussions of problems with performance appraisal systems, limitations of traditional measures, and comments like, "Having a more competent workforce can result from activities such as having training that is on target, conducting management coaching, and using better selection methods." Supporting his points with case studies, Kravetz does provide a number of equations for calculating the dollar value of various changes. This aspect of the work may get the attention of some managers for whom the idea of competencies has been hard to grasp. Overall, the book is solid, but there's nothing groundbreaking here. —J.B.