Skills Compass

Can we collaborate on this one

Collaboration and analysis by business people working in office


Collaborate more effectively by stimulating knowledge building, knowledge expansion and knowledge sharing.


A team performs optimally if it has the right skills in the right distribution. Then nobody will be overloaded and everyone can go on holiday with peace of mind without work coming to a standstill. This technique helps the team to start a discussion about this and to improve the distribution of skills.



With the skills compass you work on a Growth Mindset. With a growth mindset you believe that you can grow as a person by taking on challenges, by experimenting, by learning from ‘mistakes’, by being open to feedback and by practicing things consciously and with persistence. In the face of setbacks, you persevere and see the success of others as an example.

Born to Learn is an animation about exciting new discoveries around how people learn.

To Work

How to fill a skills compas.

  1. Briefly discuss your team’s goals. What is the value you deliver together?
  2. Make an inventory of the knowledge and skills you use to perform the (current) work. Write these on individual sticky notes. Bring more structure to the result by deduplicating together, asking questions and, where possible, merging, shortening and sharpening descriptions. Paste the resulting sticky notes (8 to 16) in the top row of the skill compass.
  3. Have each team member put his/her name on a sticky note and put it in the left column of the skills compass.
  4. Have each team member silently make an inventory of skills they are currently using. To achieve this, draw pie charts on sticky notes in accordance with the legend shown in the figure to the left.
  5. Discuss the result with each other:
    What stands out? Is the workload evenly distributed? Which skills are scarce? Can anyone take time off without creating problems?
  6. Have everyone indicate in dotted lines in which competence he/she will develop further in the coming period.

View each other’s development objectives and agree on how you will support each other in developing and sharing knowledge.


This technique is based on the Skill Matrix from Lean. It is used to provide insight into the mastery of Lean competencies within an improvement team.

You find a more elaborate description of this technique in section 7.1 Skills Compass in our book Connective Teamwork (EN, NL). The book helps you set your team in motion with a practical 5-step plan and 20 teamwork techniques.

You can learn more about and practice this technique in our Connective Team Coach Training Course.

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