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When you don't know what you don't know.

April 1, 2017

 

Conscious Competence

 

We've all heard the saying "What I don't know could fill a book" or a library or a warehouse, etc. Well, that may be true but it's not very helpful. I'd like to focus on the specific area(s) of knowledge that one might be required to obtain in-order to successfully deliver services or execute their jobs. A learning model credited to Noel Burch in the 1970's describe the four stages for learning any new skill. You may find them elsewhere listed as 4 Levels, 4 Steps, 4 Bridges, maybe even 4 Tunnels (for the New York crowd). Call them what you will. Here is a simple breakdown:

Stage 1:

Unconsciously Unskilled

Lack of knowledge/skill and awareness.

Stage 2:

Consciously Unskilled

Gained awareness but lack of knowledge/skill.

Stage 3:

Consciously Skilled

Gained knowledge/skill but requires effort to utilize.

Stage 4:

Unconsciously Skilled

Effortless use of knowledge/skill.

 

Why do we care about breaking something down into just 4 Steps? Oops, I mean 4 Stages. Here's why we care, because it gives us perspective on where we are at any moment with our skills or capabilities. It gives us a path to follow to competence, proficiency, confidence and hopefully expertise. I don't know about you, but there have been plenty of times that I didn't even know I needed to learn a new skill. Or, maybe I was aware that I needed a skill, but didn't have the knowledge yet. 

 

Where are you, when it comes to the knowledge and skills that are most important to your future successes?

 

BTW, if you believe yourself to be at Stage 4, be careful. You may be on auto-pilot and not even realize it. If you are the person that can do it in your sleep, it might be time to change up or freshen up your technique or delivery.

 

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