“Executive core qualifications” or ECQ is a term covering a raft of fundamental executive level qualifications across multiple fields, including business management, financial management and other very high value qualifications. This term is used often in relation to Senior Executive Service roles in government jobs.
The main problem for job candidates is that like the business world, the range of ECQs is a moving target, changing rapidly. Demand for skills evolves according to the business environment. In government jobs, the demand evolves in a somewhat different environment, but with many of the same drivers of change.
The latest examples of ECQs include five core skills, with multiple related skills in each skill set:
- Managing change – Creativity, learning, external awareness and responsiveness, resilience, flexible management, strategic thinking, and planning.
- Leadership – Team building, managing diversified workforces, managing conflict, and integrity.
- Managing results and goals – Problem solving, managing deliverables, decision making, entrepreneurial skills, and expertise.
- Business management – All aspects of business management, including financial management, human resources management, and technological initiatives.
- Communications – Managing business relationships and alliances, negotiation and mediation, core communications.
As you can see, this is a very broad brush approach to actual management, but it’s a good range of categorizations for key executive skill sets. Most of the higher echelon executive roles involve a significant range of these ECQs in various forms.
For the purposes of SES skills knowledge and abilities roles, the ECQs are also very good guidelines to the demand for skills.
A few points at this stage regarding the natural issues for SES candidates, because ECQs have an equally wide range of practical applications:
- The ECQs need to be considered in relation to different SES KSA roles. ECQs can be good basic indicators, but you need to consider the practical contexts.
- Requirements for ECQs will naturally vary, but include a range of similar skills, in different environments and roles.
- The foci of some management roles will include specialist skills requirements. “Managing change”, for example, includes a very diverse range of skills.
- It’s important to understand the priorities attached to ECQs in relation to role needs. Not all ECQs carry the same weight in different roles. Leadership, for example, may be much more important in one role than managing change, if an organization is in need of strong in-house management.
Assessing Executive core qualifications requirements
The main issue for SES candidates is assessing ECQs in relation to specific roles. The ECQs can be a very good range of indicators for job quality, career prospects, and other useful goals. They’re definitely good indicators of many areas of opportunity for highly skilled people.
ECQs can also be excellent indicators of very demanding jobs and very challenging roles. An organization looking for strong leadership skills in a candidate, for example, may be an organization which has suffered from the effects of lack of leadership.
Some executives can accurately read ECQs like a map of organizational needs. ECQs have definite values for SES candidates, but always stay up to date with the ever-changing face of ECQs.