MSD Competency Framework

Personal development for practitioners

How individual practitioners can drive their own learning and growth

MSD competencies

Individual practitioners can use the MSD Competency Framework to drive their own learning and growth. This page focuses on using individual Competency pages to help practitioners learn on their own - whether in existing roles, or to help them apply for new ones.

Target Audience
MSD Practitioners at any level seeking to self-improve.

Benefits of using the Competency Framework for self-development

  • Improved competencies increase the likelihood of systemic impact in programme activities
  • A proactive stance signals motivation and ambition to organisational leaders
  • Analysis of existing roles may highlight opportunities for new challenges, additional responsibilities and potential promotion
  • For candidates seeking their first MSD role it demonstrates to hiring committees their focus, determination and commitment to learning

Before Starting:

  1. Watch the introduction video to learn how the framework web pages work
  2. Familiarise yourself with the 17 MSD competencies. Read through the definitions to get a sense of what they’re about beyond the title.
  3. Read the Self-learning competency C5 in detail. This is a good overarching competency to motivate personal development.

Step-by-step guidance

Step 1: Analyse the job description to understand priority competencies

  • Read through job the description and make notes of the requirements using the language of the MSD Competency Framework
  • If possible, discuss the position with the manager (or hiring manager) to get their perspective on what is most key to performance

Step 2: Conduct an honest self-assessment on the 17 competencies

  • Give yourself a score out of 10 for each competency (or alternatively simply assign high, medium or low)
  • Make notes of examples of times you have demonstrated a competency, or times you have struggled with a competency
  • If you have formal training at any educational level that relates to a competency, make a note of it

Step 3: Compare your strengths and weaknesses to the job requirements

  • Look at your self-assessed scores for the key priority competencies related to the job
  • Pick at least one competency that you already are strong on, and one that needs improvement. Remember that not everyone needs to be good at all competencies.
  • Find a partner to share your goals with, either a manager or peer. Ideally find someone who is also willing to develop personal development goals.

Step 4: Generate an action plan for your development 

  • Read through the sections on Skills and experience for the prioritised competencies to see how you’ve developed this competency in other contexts
  • Set yourself challenge assignments - Research assignments in particular
  • Ask your manager / team leader for opportunities to practice your prioritised competency and explain to them why you want to improve in that domain

Step 5: Seek feedback and reassess

  • Every time you get a chance to practice the competency make notes of what you tried, what worked and what didn’t
  • Ask yourself the Traditional interview questions associated with the competencies
  • After several weeks seek out a trusted colleague or peer and ask them to observe your performance in a real-world situation. Consider sharing with them some of the assessment guidance for Direct observation of practice for the particular competency.
  • When you have made satisfactory progress, return to your two lists of role requirements and self-assessment. Choose the next most important competency (strength or weakness) and repeat the steps.

Seeking your feedback

We are currently seeking examples of individual practitioners who have used the MSD Competency Framework for their personal development. If you would like to contribute to this, please contact 

Additional Resources