The ECQ essays are required for entry into the SES and are used by many departments and agencies in selection, performance management and leadership development for management and executive positions.
ALERT: The recent pilot by the Office of Professional Management for 2 new methods (besides the traditional ECQs) have now been adopted as acceptable methods for applying for SES positions. These two methods, which either include the ECQs in the resume or use just ECQ “elements” are now part of the official Guide to Senior Executive Service Qualifications on the OPM website. Based on this FederalResumes.net suggests waiting on writing your ECQs until you have an actual announcement.
The ECQs define the competencies to build a Federal corporate culture to drive for results, serve customers and build successful teams and coalitions with and outside the organization. Typically these essays are 1-2 pages each. FederalResumes.net writes ECQ statements using examples to show how you uniquely add value.
There are 5 ECQ essays to be written:
ECQ 1 – Leading Change
ECQ 2 – Leading People
ECQ 3 – Results Driven
ECQ 4 – Business Acumen
ECQ 5 – Building coalitions
Each ECQ must address the subject of the ECQ and the competencies under each ECQ. In addition, SES candidates must show the following Fundamental Competencies:
Competencies are the personal and professional attributes that are critical to successful performance in the SES. The fundamental competencies are the attributes that serve as the foundation for each of the Executive Core Qualifications. Experience and training that strengthen and demonstrate the competencies will enhance a candidate’s overall qualifications for the SES.
Definition: These competencies are the foundation for success in each of the Executive Core Qualifications.
Interpersonal Skills: Treats others with courtesy, sensitivity, and respect. Considers and responds appropriately to the needs and feelings of different people in different situations.
Oral Communication: Makes clear and convincing oral presentations. Listens effectively; clarifies information as needed.
Integrity/Honesty: Behaves in an honest, fair, and ethical manner. Shows consistency in words and actions. Models high standards of ethics.
Written Communication: Writes in a clear, concise, organized and convincing manner for the intended audience.
Continual Learning: Assesses and recognizes own strengths and weaknesses; pursues self-development.
Public Service Motivation: Shows a commitment to serve the public. Ensures that actions meet public needs; aligns organizational objectives and practices with public interests.
More information on each ECQ is below. The competencies under each ECQ need to be addressed in the ECQ essays:
ECQ 1: Leading Change
Definition: This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.
Creativity and Innovation: Develops new insights into situations; questions conventional approaches; encourages new ideas and innovations; designs and implements new or cutting edge programs/processes.
External Awareness: Understands and keeps up-to-date on local, national and international policies and trends that affect the organization and shape stakeholders’ views; is aware of the organization’s impact on the external environment.
Flexibility: Is open to change and new information; rapidly adapts to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles.
Resilience: Deals effectively with pressure; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity. Recovers quickly from setbacks.
Strategic Thinking : Formulates objectives and priorities, and implements plans consistent with the long-term interests of the organization in a global environment. Capitalizes on opportunities and manages risks.
Vision: Takes a long-term view and builds a shared vision with others; acts as a catalyst for organizational change. Influences others to translate vision into action.
ECQ 2: Leading People
Definition: This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization’s vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.
Conflict Management: Encourages creative tension and differences of opinions. Anticipates and takes steps to prevent counter-productive confrontations. Manages and resolves conflicts and disagreements in a constructive manner.
Leveraging Diversity: Fosters an inclusive workplace where diversity and individual differences are valued and leveraged to achieve the vision and mission of the organization.
Developing Others: Develops the ability of others to perform and contribute to the organization by providing ongoing feedback and by providing opportunities to learn through formal and informal methods.
Team Building: Inspires and fosters team commitment, spirit, pride and trust. Facilitates cooperation and motivates team members to accomplish group goals.
ECQ 3: Results Driven
Definition: This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.
Accountability: Holds self and others accountable for measurable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results. Determines objectives, sets priorities, and delegates work. Accepts responsibility for mistakes. Complies with established control systems and rules.
Customer Service: Anticipates and meets the needs of both internal and external customers. Delivers high-quality products and services; is committed to continuous improvement.
Decisiveness: Makes well-informed, effective and timely decisions, even when data are limited or solutions produce unpleasant consequences; perceives the impact and implications of decisions.
Entrepreneurship: Positions the organization for future success by identifying new opportunities; builds the organization by developing or improving products or services. Takes calculated risks to accomplish organizational objectives.
Problem Solving: Identifies and analyzes problems; weighs relevance and accuracy of information; generates and evaluates alternative solutions; makes recommendations.
Technical Credibility: Understands and appropriately applies principles, procedures, requirements, regulations and policies related to specialized expertise.
ECQ 4: Business Acumen
Definition: This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.
Financial Management: Understands the organization’s financial processes. Prepares, justifies, and administers the program budget. Oversees procurement and contracting to achieve desired results. Monitors expenditures and uses cost-benefit thinking to set priorities.
Human Capital Management: Builds and manages workforce based on organizational goals, budget considerations, and staffing needs. Ensures that employees are appropriately recruited, selected, appraised, and rewarded; takes action to address performance problems. Manages a multi-sector workforce and a variety of work situations.
Technology Management: Keeps up-to-date on technological developments. Makes effective use of technology to achieve results. Ensures access to and security of technology systems.
ECQ 5: Building Coalitions
Definition: This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.
Partnering: Develops networks and builds alliances; collaborates across boundaries to build strategic relationships and achieve common goals.
Political Savvy: Identifies the internal and external politics that impact the work of the organization. Perceives organizational and political reality and acts accordingly.
Influencing/Negotiating: Persuades others; builds consensus through give and take; gains cooperation from others to obtain information and accomplish goals.
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