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SES 101. DON EXECUTIVE CAREER PLANNING SEMINAR October 29, 2010. AGENDA. Overview Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) and Core Competencies Writing Executive Core Qualifications Diversity Senior Executive Service Demographics. Senior Executive Service History.

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ses 101

SES 101


October 29, 2010

  • Overview
  • Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) and Core Competencies
  • Writing Executive Core Qualifications
  • Diversity
  • Senior Executive Service Demographics
senior executive service history
Senior Executive Service History
  • Established by Title IV of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978
  • Effective on July 13, 1979
  • Established as a “third” service, separate from the competitive and excepted services
  • Replaced over 60 separate executive personnel authorities covering one to several thousand positions
  • Ensures that the executive management of government of the U.S. is responsive to the needs, policies and goals of the nation
who is included
Who Is Included?
  • The Senior Executive Service (SES) includes most managerial, supervisory, and policy positions classified above General Schedule (GS) grade 15 or equivalent positions in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government
type of positions in ses
Type of Positions in SES
  • Career Reserved Positions

- Only filled by career appointees

- Positions defined in law to:

Ensure impartiality

Ensure public’s confidence of impartiality of government

  • General Positions

- May be filled by any type of SES appointee:



Limited term

Limited emergency

positions excluded
Positions Excluded
  • Senate confirmed Presidential appointees
  • Legislative and judicial branch positions
  • Positions in law enforcement and intelligence agencies, in the Foreign Service and in other agencies excluded by statute or by the President
  • Administrative Law Judges
  • Members of boards of contract appeal
  • Independent Government corporations positions (e.g. Tennessee Valley Authority) and in certain financial regulatory agencies
types of ses appointments
Types of SES Appointments
  • Career Appointments

> General or career reserved positions

> Individual rights are the same in either case

> Qualifications Review Board Convened by OPM

- Incumbents selected by agency merit staffing process

- ECQs approved by OPM QRB

appointments cont d
Appointments (cont’d)
  • Non-career Appointments

> Case-by-case approval by OPM with appointment authority reverting to OPM upon appointee’s departure of position

> Appointments only made to General positions not to exceed 25% of the agency’s SES position allocation

Government wide, 10% of SES positions may be filled by non-career appointees

appointments cont d9
Appointments (cont’d)
  • Limited Term appointment

> Up to 3 years

> Nonrenewable positions assigned to an SES General position expiring due to nature of the work (e.g. a special project)

  • Limited Emergency appointment

> Nonrenewable appointment

> Up to 18 months

> Established to meet a bona-fide, unanticipated urgent need

federal senior executive service ecq 1 leading change
  • Ability to bring about strategic change within and outside the organization to meet organizations goals


  • Ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment
leading change competencies

Core Competencies

  • Resilience - deal effectively with pressure to include balancing personal life and work
  • Service Motivation – show a commitment to public service and influence others toward a spirit of service
  • Strategic Thinking – anticipate potential threats or opportunities; determine objectives and set priorities
  • Vision – influence others to translate vision into action
federal senior executive service ecq 2 leading people
  • Ability to lead people toward meeting the organization’s vision, mission and goals


  • Ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts
leading people competencies

Core Competencies

  • Conflict Management – manage and resolve conflicts and disagreements in a positive and constructive manner
  • Leveraging Diversity – respect, understand, value and seek out individual differences to achieve desired results
  • Integrity/Honesty – behave in a fair and ethical manner; be truthful
  • Team Building – encourage cooperation
federal senior executive service ecq 3 results driven
  • Ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations


  • Ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems and calculating risks
results driven competencies

Core Competencies

  • Accountability – be reliable and take responsibility for actions and be ready to explain them; hold self and others responsible for attaining desired outcomes
  • Customer Services – meet the needs of your customers and be committed to continuous improvement
  • Decisiveness – exercise good judgment by making sound, well-informed decisions
  • Entrepreneurship – be willing to take risks to achieve a recognized benefit or advantage
  • Problem Solving - provide solutions to problems, make decisions
  • Technical Credibility - build credibility with performance
federal senior executive service ecq 4 business acumen

Ability to manage human, financial and information resources strategically

Core Competencies

  • Financial Management - show ability to understand the principles of financial management
  • Human Resource Management - show ability to acquire and administer human resources
  • Technology Management - understand the impact of technological change
federal senior executive service ecq 5 building coalitions communications
FEDERAL SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICEECQ 5: Building Coalitions/Communications

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

building coalitions competencies

Core Competencies

  • Influencing/Negotiating – demonstrate ability to persuade others; build consensus through give and take; facilitate “win-win” situations
  • Interpersonal Skills – respond appropriately to the needs, feelings, capabilities of others; treat others with respect
  • Oral Communication – express facts and ideas in a clear, concise manner
  • Partnering – develop an expansive professional network
  • Political Savvy - recognize impact of alternative courses of action
  • Written Communication - express ideas and facts in writing in a clean and organized manner
writing executive qualifications statements

The key to a well-written qualifications statement is to give readers—executive resource staff, rating and selecting officials, and Qualifications Review Board (QRB) members—specific information about your achievements. Be sure to include professional and volunteer experience, education, training, and awards that demonstrate your skills in a particular Executive Core Qualification (ECQ). A well-prepared ECQ statement reflects the ECQ-specific competencies (e.g. “Leading Change” reflects creativity and innovation, external awareness, etc.) Because the fundamental competencies are cross-cutting, they should be addressed over the complete ECQ narrative. It is not necessary to address them directly as long as the narrative, in its totality, shows mastery of these fundamental competencies overall.

Begin your ECQ statement with a brief summary of your executive experience. Then use the following approach to describe your accomplishments.

challenge context action result model
Challenge-Context-Action-Result Model

An ECQ statement may include one or more examples of relevant experience. The number of examples is not as important as assuring that your experience matches the ECQ criteria. Keep in mind that the QRB is looking for specific challenges, actions and results.

  • Challenge. Describe a specific problem or goal.
  • Context. Talk about the individuals and groups you worked with, and/or the environment in which you worked, to tackle a particular challenge (e.g. clients, co-workers, members of Congress, shrinking budget, low morale).
  • Action. Discuss the specific actions you took to address a challenge.
  • Result. Give specific examples of the results of your actions. These accomplishments demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of your leadership skills.
writing executive qualifications statements continued

Other suggestions

  • Adhere to page limitations stated in the vacancy announcement
  • Use clear, concise statements written in the first person
  • Spell out all acronyms
  • Describe recent education and training that enhanced your skills in a particular ECQ
  • Include non-Federal experience (e.g., private sector, volunteer and professional organizations) if it demonstrates executive qualifications
  • Include special assignments (e.g., details, task forces, committees) if they are relevant to an ECQ
  • Avoid statements that describe your personal beliefs or philosophies
  • Include awards that relate specifically to an ECQ
  • Quantify your accomplishments
  • Address fundamental competencies over the course of the complete ECQ statement
tips for writing effective ecq statements and accomplishment record narratives
Tips for Writing Effective ECQ Statements and Accomplishment Record Narratives


  • Focus on leadership rather than managerial and technical abilities
  • Follow the Challenge-Context-Action-Result model
  • Each ECQ or competency should contain specific, job-related experiences with specific accomplishments
  • Focus on what you have accomplished personally, but don’t exaggerate
  • Show that you have the qualifications needed to succeed in the SES
  • Address fundamental competencies
  • Never combine any of the ECQs or competencies
  • Never address an ECQ or competency by referring the reader to other parts of your application (e.g. resume)
  • Avoid using an identical example for more than one ECQ or competency
tips for writing effective ecq statements and accomplishment record narratives continued
Tips for Writing Effective ECQ Statements and Accomplishment Record Narratives(continued)
  • Avoid a “laundry list” of activities without context, actions, or accomplishments
  • Focus on your vision for the organization, not your personal vision
  • Focus on recent experience, education, and training. Some reviewers consider experience that is over 10 years old to be stale
  • Highlight awards or other forms of recognition relating to an ECQ
  • Include non-Federal experiences if they support an ECQ
  • Include relevant formal education or training that has enhanced your skills in a particular ECQ or competency
  • Don’t forget to include examples of special assignments/details
  • Include special qualifications – public speaking, publications, etc.
  • Show measurable results, especially in terms of customer service, increased efficiency, productivity, or money saved
english 101 revisited and other tip s
English 101 Revisited and Other Tips
  • Absolutely no typos or grammatical errors
  • Use personal “I” instead of third person
  • Write in short, complete sentences (subject, verb, proper tense)
  • Use common words and expressions instead of bureaucratic ones
  • Economize on words and expressions, but not to a cryptic extreme

Good: I briefed Congress

Bad: I conducted a briefing to key Congresspersons and their staffs

  • Avoid vague statements

Good: I produce two weekly radio shows, one monthly television program, and a bimonthly newsletter to 10,000 employees located in 12 regional offices

Bad: I manage various communication processes to field offices

english 101 revisited and other tips continued
English 101 Revisited and Other Tips(Continued)


  • Follow the instructions in the announcement carefully; ignoring page limits or other formatting requirements may jeopardize your application
  • Material should be easy to read:

- Use paragraphs or bullets to separate items

- Use headings and subheadings to indicate categories

- Use all capital letters, bold or italics to highlight important information

- Leave some white space; don’t type margin to margin

- Avoid using small size type

english 101 revisited and other tips continued33
English 101 Revisited and Other Tips(Continued)
  • Don’t make reviewers hunt for experience (e.g. “see attachments”). Pull all relevant information in the write-up
  • Application should be neat, clean, and typed
  • Make sure photocopies are legible
  • Don’t attach copies of training certificates, awards, or position descriptions
  • Number all pages
  • Don’t assume Spell-Check and Grammar-Check will catch all errors; review every word
other tips continued
Other Tips (Continued)


  • Be friendly and professional, not stilted, formal, or chatty
  • Avoid passive verbs; use active verbs with the personal “I”

Good: I established a new team structure that eliminated the need for six supervisors (only 13 words; concise, clear, good use of personal “I” with an active verb)

Bad: The establishment of a new team structure was considered one of my best accomplishments in that it reduced the need for six supervisory positions (too long – 24 words; stilted, awkward sentence structure; too passive)

other tips continued35
Other Tips (Continued)


  • Make sure that individuals you reference can attest to your ability to perform the Senior Executive Service job and can speak to your specific competencies in the Executive Core qualifications
  • Contact references and tell them about positions for which you have applied
  • Be sure reference information is current (e.g., telephone numbers, addresses, etc.)
other tips continued36
Other Tips (Continued)

More Tips

  • Avoid statements that describe your personal beliefs, philosophies, or commitment to social or political causes unless they are necessary to describe the results you have achieved
  • Don’t reveal information about your political affiliation or activities unless you are using experience as a political appointee to qualify
  • Don’t identify your race, sex, national orgin, color, religion, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, or any other non-merit factor

And Finally…..

  • When you’re finished, ask three people (preferably dispassionate and knowledgeable individuals) to review your application
senior executive service diversity assurance act of 2009
Senior Executive Service Diversity Assurance Act of 2009

The Senior Executive Service Diversity Assurance Act of 2009 requires the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to establish within OPM the Senior Executive Service Resource Office (SES Resource Office). Makes it the mission of the SES Resource Office to:

  • (1) improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of the Senior Executive Service (SES) through policy formulation and oversight;
  • (2) advance the professionalism of the SES; and
  • (3) recruit qualified individuals from appropriate sources to ensure that the SES is reflective of the nation’s diversity. Sets forth the functions of the SES Resource Office with respect to the management, training, oversight, and recruitment activities of the SES
ses diversity assurance act of 2009 continued
SES Diversity – Assurance Act of 2009 (continued)

There are approximately 6100 members of the Senior Executive Service (SES)

demographic profile of ses
Demographic Profile of SES
  • Race and National Origin

- 1.0% Native American

- 3.0% Asian or Pacific Islander

- 5.0% African-American

- 1.0% Latino

- 90% White

  • Gender Profile

- Women 22%

- Men 78%

  • Age

- 75 – 60 (58 people)

- 59 – 50 (191 people)

- 49 – 40 (92 people)

- 39 – 34 (4 people)

Source: May 2010 – Dept of Navy, Office of Civilian Human Resources

dept of the navy executive personnel
Dept of the Navy Executive Personnel
  • General and Career Reserve SES (SES)
  • Senior Intelligence Executive Service (IE)
  • Senior Intelligence Professional (IP)
  • Senior Level (SL)
  • Scientific and Professional (ST)
  • Administratively Determined (AD)
  • Demonstration Project, Equivalent to ST/SL (ND)
  • Political Appointees (EX)
  • Expert (other) (EE)
  • NRL Science and Engineering Professional (NP)

May 2010 on board count

senior executive service locations
Senior Executive Service Locations

Bremerton - 2

Keyport -1

Kittery - 1

Newport - 4

Mechanicsburg - 6

Lakehurst - 1

Monterey - 1

Annapolis, Indian Head, Patuxent River - 35

China Lake - 3

Port Hueneme, Point Mugu - 3

Washington, DC, Arlington – 219


Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Dahlgren, Quantico – 33

Crane – 1


San Diego, Point Loma – 11

Broadway Complex-1

Little Creek

Millington - 1

New Orleans - 1

Albany 1

Tampa -3

Bay St Louis – 3

Stennis Space Center

Pearl Harbor - 9

May 2010, includes Joint Forces Command

senior executive service
Senior Executive Service

Educational Level

May 2010, includes Joint Forces Command

ses tier compensation structure
SES Tier Compensation Structure


Pay for Performance2


(Max – Exec Level II pay)


(Max pay increase +bonus)

Tier 3



(Max - Tier 2 level pay)


(Max pay increase +bonus)

Tier 2



(Max pay increase +bonus)


(Max – Tier 1 level pay

(Exec Level III)

Tier 1


1 Upper limit set by the Executive Pay Schedule

2 Percentages set annually by DEPSECDEF


(Min Exec Level Pay)

senior executive service compensation structure
Senior Executive Service Compensation Structure

Executive Pay Schedule

Level V $145,700

Level IV $155,500

Level III $165,300

Level II $179,700

Average Salary $168,115

Median Salary $169,416

May 2010, includes Joint Forces Command