Gartner Exec Tackles the Key Competencies for Success in WiTH Keynote

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — There are several key competencies that highly successful technology individuals and teams tend to have, according to Erin Griffin, senior executive partner at Gartner and former Screen Actors Guild-AFTRA CIO.

It’s important to focus on competencies and learning agility because “the world is changing fast,” she said Dec. 4, during the Women in Technology: Hollywood (WiTH) keynote presentation “Competencies for Success” that was held during a workshop in conjunction with the Content Protection Summit.

Griffin shared Gartner research on some of the key competencies of successful tech individuals and teams, and made note of how to distinguish between competencies and skills.

At the start, she encouraged female attendees to comment and relate their experiences during the presentation, noting women often don’t actively participate in discussions at technology conferences. However, they tend to feel “a lot freer to do that” at female-geared events like this one, she said.

Although there are potentially “thousands of IT skills” that one could conceivably learn, the average person is “not going to be expert” in all of them, she noted. Instead, “what you’re going to do is cycle through lots and lots of different skills and talents as you go through your career,” she told attendees.

Most people are doing different things in their jobs now than they did at the starts of their pro careers,” and “that’s why competencies matter – because that’s what’s going to take you to your next role with success,” she said.

Discussing skills specific to the tech sector, she pointed out that managing hardware used to mean servers in your data center, but now it means “managing your engagement with the cloud.” There’s been a “big transition, but it’s still creating technology,” she said.

“Manipulating technology,” meanwhile, includes a wide variety of roles, including coding, testing and troubleshooting – all the things you do with technology “to make something useful,” she noted. Then comes “exploiting the technology,” she said.

She offered these simple words of advice to attendees: “Be a problem solver,” She went on to discuss the importance of “effective communication” and “active listening,” suggesting that people “exercise” the latter.

“Being adaptive to others’ communication styles is an important part of being successful” also, she said. But she admitted: “This has been a struggle for me sometimes.”

Also important: “Make sure your messages are effective and well-received,” she told attendees.

“Competencies are yours to develop and they can be developed in your teams,” she went on to say, noting they typically aren’t things you’re born with.

“Don’t try to be all things to all people,” she also suggested, stressing the importance of picking a “competency or two” you’d like to work on and work on those on your own or with your teams.
“Most of all, just keep growing – keep learning, keep changing and you will have a tremendously successful career,” she said in conclusion.