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The difference between competence and capability

Paul Matthews, founder, People Alchemy

22 March 2016

Yes, I know there are legal definitions of these terms, but how do you use 'competence' and 'capability' in the real world when you're talking about yourself or colleagues in a workplace context?

So what is the difference? Here's an example. Your mechanic is a very good mechanic, and he has serviced your car for many years. You trust him and his skills.

One day on your way out to do something fun with your child, you notice a strange noise under the bonnet of your car.

You stop at your mechanic's, who has a listen to your car, and says that he knows what is wrong and that it is easy to fix. There is a small part which is cracked and is rattling, and this simply needs replacing. The job will take a couple of minutes, so you breathe a sigh of relief and head for the waiting room.

Your mec...

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