CMHC Dictionary of Behavioural Competencies

… a resource in the Competencies database

CMHCCorporate behaviours specified by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

The material below is retrieved and reorganized from the CMHC site that can be directly accessed by clicking the image to the right.

CMHC describes the purpose of the dictionary:

“The following dictionary is intended to provide you with more information on CMHC’s behavioural competencies. Each competency is defined and accompanied by specific examples of concrete activities that actively demonstrate that competency. The definitions in the dictionary are general, intended to cover a wide range of jobs and to be adapted to specific situations.

“It is important to familiarize yourself with both the required competencies and the key responsibilities of the role when submitting your application and preparing for an interview.”

In the table below, the CMHC behavioural competencies have been arranged top to bottom in rough order of their relevance to a recently hired graduate of an MPP or MPA program. The text under the bolded title is the Definition in the original and the bullets are the Examples of Behavioural Indicators.

Organizational Know-How and Awareness

Using personal awareness of CMHC and its people to get things done. Using awareness of the organization’s support systems and the market to advance CMHC’s strategy and market share.

  • Knows and calls upon people in other parts of CMHC who can be particularly helpful in providing resources or assistance when needed.
  • Understands the relationships, concerns and agendas of key people, and decisions made inside and outside of their own work group.
  • Knows where to get needed resources, information and support from other parts of CMHC.
  • Finds ways to get things done effectively through formal and informal channels.
Valuing and Respecting Individuals

Values, respects and utilizes the different ideas, experiences, competencies, backgrounds, lifestyles, sexual orientation and work styles that individuals bring to contribute to CMHC’s business success and organizational culture.

  • Recognizes, respects and values the differences among colleagues and clients.
  • Identifies and works to develop the relevant skills, knowledge and behaviours to work effectively with the differences among individual staff and clients.
  • Constructively challenges assumptions and behaviours that limit individual and/or organizational growth.
  • Creates a working environment where the diversity of backgrounds, cultures, experiences and ideas are integrated in order to optimize the contribution that individual differences can make to CMHC’s success and organizational culture.
Open-mindedness / Listening

Actively listens to others, remaining open-minded and flexible when presented with different perspectives and new information.

  • Actively listens to and demonstrates, through body language and responses, an understanding of others’ opinions and ideas.
  • Seeks feedback from others and asks questions to demonstrate interest in others’ opinions.
  • Allows others time to speak without interrupting, even when there is a difference of opinion, thus demonstrating tolerance for, and recognition of, the merits of differing points of view.
  • Listens to new ideas and reasonable arguments and modifies own positions and opinions as appropriate.
  • Remains objective and keeps personal feelings under control when dealing with conflict between self and others.
Relationship Building

Develops and maintains strong relationships with key clients (internal and external) and identifies whose co-operation is important to present and/or future business success.

  • Develops and maintains an extensive internal and external network of industry contacts.
  • Maintains ongoing internal contacts by sharing information openly and before others ask for the information.
  • Shares their key contacts list with others, encouraging them to speak with those on the list and build effective business relationships.
  • Regularly keeps manager or team leader apprised of progress and results to ensure they are not blind-sided.
  • Finds and/or develops value-added materials to share with others as a means of helping and staying informed.
  • Checks back with clients and partners to ensure ideas and proposals meet needs and objectives.

Works effectively with others to achieve common goals.

  • Accepts input and ideas from all team members in building a mutual commitment to team goals.
  • Involves everyone affected by the problem to generate the solutions.
  • Looks for ways to collaborate with other functions and teams across CMHC to achieve common goals.
  • Actively supports and promotes the decision of the team externally even if they are not in personal agreement with the team solution.
  • Provides clear direction and feedback and the necessary resources to facilitate effective teamwork and results.
  • Celebrates teamwork by recognizing and rewarding achievement by team members
Consensus Building

Brings others together in setting goals, solving problems and making decisions in order to reach common agreement without causing resentment.

  • Involves others early in the process to get their input and “buy-in” before making decisions that affect them.
  • Asks questions and initiates discussion to gain a thorough understanding of the group dynamics before proceeding with projects.
  • Detects potential problems and takes action (including reasonable risks where appropriate) to resolve conflicts promptly.
  • Focuses others on the positive to turn around a negative situation.
  • Creates mutually beneficial solutions to resolve issues.
  • Builds alliances or task forces across CMHC in order to get their job accomplished.

Adapts positively and productively to regular changes in the workplace, accepting new challenges and turning them into successes.

  • Positively adapts and willingly takes on new responsibilities and tasks as necessary when changes are introduced.
  • Readily shifts priorities if more urgent work is required.
  • Remains calm, pleasant, productive and positive even when faced with constant change, difficult market conditions and political shifts.
  • Accepts ambiguity and uncertainty in the workplace, getting on with tasks even when direction and structure is lacking.
  • Leverages personal flexibility and recognizes the untapped opportunities inherent in change.
  • Helps others to remain flexible, highlighting the positive aspects of change and the opportunities to be had.
Political and Cultural Sensitivity

Recognizes and respects various interests and potentially conflicting views while supporting CMHC’s business objectives.

  • Reads consistently and speaks with key people to maintain an understanding of the opinions of various political groups in order to make informed business decisions.
  • Considers the political sensitivity of issues to ensure key stakeholders are kept in the loop and are not blind-sided or misinformed.
  • Remains sensitive to political issues when making decisions but stays focused on achieving the desired results.
  • Takes the ever-changing political environment into consideration when looking to set strategy and action plans for CMHC.
  • Takes the ever-changing political environment into consideration when looking to set strategy and action plans for CMHC.
Effective Leadership

Provides a clear sense of purpose and a vision of the future to energize and focus people on achieving goals and organizational success; acts as a role model and behaves in accordance with personal and CMHC values.

  • Develops and communicates a vision of the future which sets direction for and inspires others towards business success.
  • Remains visible and accessible to others.
  • Mobilizes people around organizational values by inspiring a shared purpose.
  • Overcomes resistance to, and influences others about, the merit of a particular idea, method or course of action.
  • Communicates passionately and positively that the people at CMHC will achieve desired goals.
  • Behaves in accordance with personal and CMHC values and acts as a role model in the organization.
Coaching and Feedback

Coaches individuals and teams in the pursuit of high performance goals.

  • Willingly shares personal experiences and knowledge to help raise individual and team performance.
  • Regularly provides genuine and positive recognition for efforts that achieve the desired results.
  • Works with team and individuals to set challenging performance goals that reflect CMHC’s values and business plan.
  • Helps others to find their own solutions by showing them the right questions to ask, rather than providing the answers.
  • Holds management accountable for providing ongoing coaching and performance direction.
Developing Others

Creates an environment that ensures individuals are given every opportunity to grow and perform to their potential.

  • Draws on own experience and knowledge to coach and mentor others to help others continuously develop their competencies.
  • Provides opportunities, tools and information that facilitate the personal and professional development of others.
  • Sets an example for others by behaving in ways that are consistent with the organization’s mission, values and beliefs.
  • Recognizes emerging performance problems and intercedes quickly to help the individual take responsibility for improving the situation.
Client Focus

Builds and maintains client relationships through a comprehensive understanding of client needs, priorities and objectives, providing excellent service and world-class products.

  • Seeks feedback and suggestions from clients to ensure their input in the development and evaluation of products, services, and programs.
  • Acts quickly and constructively upon client feedback.
  • Focuses activities on delivering timely, high-quality information to clients, demonstrating a sense of urgency and an understanding of client needs.
  • Creates the processes and mechanisms to solicit and respond to input from key stakeholders.
  • Proactively develops mutually beneficial partnerships with key groups, defining needs and opportunities, offering CMHC’s expertise and support, etc.
  • Draws upon a wealth of information to stay one step ahead of clients and anticipate their needs.
  • Remains focused on the client at all times and is not distracted by activities that take away from this priority.
Commitment to Official Languages

To respect English and French as the official languages of Canada and to ensure the quality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use within the Corporation by:

  • Demonstrating discipline, willingness and commitment to continually maintain and improve the required language proficiency level through various forms (formal/informal training, media, working environment, etc.).
  • When operating in a bilingual environment, reviewing and providing feedback in either official language, without translation.
  • Practising, using and maintaining the second language according to the language profile of the position in the four abilities: reading, writing, understanding and speaking.
  • Ensuring the provision of internal/centralized services to employees in the official language of their choice, in offices designated bilingual for language of work.
  • Actively offering and providing service to the public in the official language chosen by the public, in offices designated bilingual for service to the public.
Communication (Presenting and Influencing)

Presents information clearly and effectively; influencing or persuading others in positive and negative circumstances; expressing self well in group or one-on-one conversation.

  • Provides others with timely, accurate, complete and consistent information.
  • Communicates openly, honestly and directly with others, remaining accessible by responding promptly to questions and comments.
  • Takes time to prepare for presentations (learns about audience, presents logical sequences and effective summaries) to ensure the message is clearly understood.
  • Adapts communication styles and methods to suit a variety of audiences.
  • Negotiates with stakeholders and arrives at mutually acceptable solutions, persuasively presents opinions and perspectives to others to gain acceptance.
  • Expresses self carefully, giving due consideration to the political sensitivity of issues.
  • Influences others and develops trust by displaying integrity and credibility, i.e., by saying what they mean and meaning what they say.
Focus on Results

Develops organizational and/or individual objectives to focus activities on achieving or exceeding high-quality results.

  • Develops challenging, client-focused goals and sets high standards for personal performance.
  • Aims to exceed the results or standards expected by others, monitoring own performance and taking action if plans go awry.
  • Works with team to set ambitious and challenging team goals, communicating what must be done over the long- and short-term to achieve them.
  • Monitors personal and team results to ensure activities are focused and on track, reprioritizing or changing direction where improvement is required.
Analytical Thinking

Brings a wide range of considerations and perspectives to issues, analyzing a variety of information to make logical, well-reasoned and effective decisions.

  • Constantly gathers information from a variety of sources to identify issues and opportunities that will impact CMHC clients.
  • Looks for patterns and trends to develop effective forecasts that help clients make informed choices.
  • Develops well-defined, step-by-step approaches to analyze and solve complex problems by collecting information from multiple sources.
  • Identifies relevant alternatives and evaluates the potential consequences of each before taking action.
  • Distinguishes when a situation requires detailed knowledge versus only a surface-level understanding.
  • Brings the widest perspective to issues, contributing a breadth of thinking, including aspects others may have missed.
  • Effectively juggles and sorts multi-faceted information when deciding on a course of action, ensuring that plans are aligned with CMHC’s strategic direction.

Finds new ways to accomplish the most within the available time and organizing resources to achieve the desired goals; making sure that work is of high quality.

  • Organizes own work or use of time to maximize personal productivity and accomplish tasks on time.
  • Organizes work so that multiple objectives or tasks can be accomplished simultaneously.
  • Finds simpler, faster or less costly ways to accomplish tasks or achieve objectives.
Project Management

Plans, manages and follows through to ensure the logical flow and timely completion of activities that deliver work results. Anticipates potential obstacles and builds plans to overcome them in advance.

  • Organizes own work to stay on track towards goals while keeping others informed of progress or barriers to achievement.
  • Establishes expectations, milestones and deliverables, and obtains necessary resources and support to achieve objectives.
  • Finds simpler, faster or less costly ways to accomplish tasks or achieve objectives.
  • Develops and implements contingency plan(s) to keep work on track.
  • Anticipates obstacles, barriers or gaps and works to continually improve organizational capability to deliver results.
  • Examines tasks and procedures to see which ones really need to be carried out, and eliminates those that are unnecessary.
Learning and Growth

Welcomes opportunities to develop self through formal and informal training and provides support and appropriate resources to staff to personally and professionally develop.

  • Committed to sustaining and improving his/her knowledge of CMHC’s products, services and financial position so that he/she can help to make informed corporate decisions consistent with CMHC values.
  • Willingly accepts that personal sacrifices are sometimes required (e.g. moving location, spending time away from home, continuous skill upgrading, etc.) to grow personally and achieve results.
  • Challenges self by stepping outside own comfort zone (e.g. taking on assignments to enhance required expertise).
  • Listens to, accepts, and applies constructive personal feedback.
  • Openly and promptly admits when things do not go according to plan and takes responsibility to ensure corrective action is taken.
  • Talks openly and respectfully to others when they make an error helping them to understand the importance of issues while allowing them to self-correct the error.
  • Actively supports and participates in the succession management process by providing opportunities, tools and information to facilitate the learning and growth of staff in own area of responsibility as well as contributes to the process across the Corporation.
  • Frequently steps aside to give team members increased visibility and skill development (e.g. representing him/her at presentations and external meetings, writing their own briefings).
  • Committed to informal, and when appropriate, formal learning opportunities.
  • Learns from personal and work experience and the experience of others to acquire and refine skills, knowledge, and judgement, and to reflect on what is important in our personal and professional lives.

Making sound decisions using appropriate, available information within an optimal time-frame, often in ambiguous and changing situations.

  • Makes firm decisions or takes action based on corporate values, principles and standards as well as sound personal judgement.
  • Makes objective timely decisions based on available relevant facts, demonstrating comfort with limited information at a given point in time.
  • Asks team members to continue to seek information, facts and alternatives in getting to “yes,” but recognizes “no” is an option.
  • Proactively shares ideas and exhibits strength of conviction to influence the final decision.
  • Learns from experience and applies these lessons in order to make sound and balanced decisions.
  • Makes decisions in situations which involve uncertainty and where results may be unknown for a number of years.
Forward / Strategic Thinking

Conceptualizes and anticipates future events in order to plan business objectives and strategic direction.

  • Provides new insights into problems or situations.
  • Anticipates critical issues and requirements to help set appropriate business objectives.
  • Continually scans the environment for emerging trends that would impact CMHC in the future, adjusting business plans as necessary.
  • Sees the connections between seemingly unrelated data and transforms this information into opportunities.
  • Recognizes and points out long-term implications of decisions.
  • Allocates resources to strategically aligned initiatives, making tough trade-off decisions as necessary.
  • Considers the long-term implications of recommendations and agrees to those that serve CMHC and its clients best in the long term.
Entrepreneurial / Innovation

Operates in a business-like manner, seeking new opportunities, making effective decisions and taking responsible risks to improve individual and organizational performance.

  • Recognizes opportunities for product and process improvement and takes appropriate action.
  • Thinks “outside the box” by openly questioning traditional ways of doing things and fundamental assumptions to stimulate new ways of thinking.
  • Acts passionately on inspiration or spontaneous thinking, finding new ways to do work or “reinventing” processes and solutions.
  • Continually watches the market to spot potential business opportunities for CMHC.
  • Seizes opportunities to market CMHC’s products and services.
  • Takes and supports intelligent risks, finding learning opportunities, sometimes in the process of trying and failing.
  • Identifies solutions and moves them ahead from thought to reality, enabling CMHC to improve its processes and work activities as an industry leader.
Managing Change and Transition

Recognizes and anticipates changes in the internal and/or external environment. Responds positively, adapting promptly to maximize business opportunities and overcome operational roadblocks.

  • Keeps informed of changes that are likely to affect their own work.
  • Accepts responsibility to work through the transition process.
  • Seeks to understand how change affects their respective work group and anticipates reactions of others in advance, thus helping others work through the change process constructively.
  • Makes self available and highly visible, e.g. working among team members to help where needed and to demonstrate that everyone is part of the change process.
  • Allocates or procures resources required to implement organization-wide changes.
Maximizing Quality

Focuses efforts on maximizing quality and consistently improving the standard of products and services in order to meet or exceed client needs.

  • Carefully reviews own work for accuracy and completeness, and maintains a desire to accomplish tasks on time.
  • Follows designated practices that have proven to ensure accurate, quality results.
  • Actively and continually looks for ways to raise the quality of work.
  • Identifies and addresses all details that are needed to ensure smooth functioning.
  • Regularly asks questions and observes how others (within CMHC or other organizations) operate, adopting best practices to maximize quality and effectiveness.
  • Verifies assumptions and information by checking with credible sources and experts or through first-hand experience.
  • Establishes processes to facilitate the delivery of high-quality work.
  • Gains a thorough knowledge of “downstream” client needs and works to ensure they are met.

CMHC’s Dictionary of Behavioural Competencies, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, at, accessed 15 February 2016.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 15 February 2016.

Image: Same as Source, accessed 15 February 2016.