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Identify the Professional, Business and Organizational Skills You Need to Thrive in 2021


 ~by George Okantey, Community Development Educator, Marion County

As 2020 ends, it is a good time to set forth your learning plans for 2021 and beyond. The Talent Capability Model is a great tool for identifying current knowledge and skills gaps—and prioritizing areas and resources for development. This model, unveiled in 2019, was developed by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), a leading authority for supporting talent development professionals who help others achieve their full potential. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in organizations of all sizes and in all industry sectors.

I have used the learning plans to guide my program delivery and coaching proficiency in community development. I used most of the concepts outlined in the model to guide and mentor participants for continuous improvements during the Community Economics and Leadership Program (CELP) that I coach. After six sessions, we had to postpone the program but most of the participants found their capability assessment useful because it provided a blueprint for career impact.

The model can be personalized, and it responds to trends affecting talent development, such as digital transformation, data analytics, information availability, and partnerships between talent development and business. The model answers the question: “What should talent development professionals know and do to be successful?” This process begins with the identification of the underlying personal and professional attributes required or expected of talent development professionals in relation to their performance at work—and ends with the development of a graphic illustration to show the major capability areas needed by individuals in the field.

The ATD Talent Capability Model is structured around three domains of practice. These domains comprise capabilities that:

  • Derive from interpersonal skills.
  • Come from building professional knowledge related to developing people and helping them learn.
  • Affect an organization’s ability to drive toward results and success.



The future of Extension work will require training in the use of interpersonal skills, along with professional expertise, to work as true partners to help achieve organizational goals. This new standard will broaden the scope of knowledge and skills as it moves educators from competency to capacity building.  When you are competent, it infers that you can perform a job. When you are capable, it infers you have the ability to integrate knowledge and skills and adapt to meet future needs.

In the current competitive, dynamic learning and business environment, talent development professionals must leverage interpersonal skills along with their professional expertise to work as true business partners to help achieve organizational goals. ATD’s research shows that successful talent development professionals need to blend knowledge and skills from all three of these domains of practice to be most effective now and in the future.




Building personal capability is about developing communication, emotional intelligence, project management, collaborative leadership skills and becoming a lifelong learner. Professional skills needed to succeed in the future include: understanding learning sciences, instructional design, coaching, evaluating impact and training and delivery. Needed business capabilities include: having insights, ability to consult and collaborate as a business partner, and capability to function well in an organizational development culture. The final capability level is how one contributes towards organizational impact. These may include efforts at change management, future readiness, and data analysis.

How to Get Started

To take the free assessment, you must create a account. Once that is done, you can complete the assessment  and track your progress regularly, including creating a learning plan with access to a library of resources for improving your proficiency.

Since taking the assessment, I have learned that I have high scores in personal and professional proficiencies but need to bridge gaps and increase organizational impact proficiency.  My learning path has been developing business acumen, understanding talent strategy and extending my capabilities around organizational development and culture. I know where the shortfall is, and I am continuously working at it. As a result of the insights and guidance received from this assessment, I have used it to guide my program development/evaluation, and I have shared it with my learning networks including participants in my community education programs. I hope you find it a useful resource.


Contact: George Okantey,, (317) 670-8084

Learn More:

Summary of The Talent Capability Model:

The Model:


Upcoming Trainings:

As a follow to this introduction, George will conduct a webinar on January 28, 2021, at 10 am to discuss how to use the tool and additional resources available to guide your progress.

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