WATCH: The Trap of Unconscious Competence

Today, I’d like to talk to you about the ‘Conscious -Unconscious Model of Learning’. So, there are probably times, when you’ve got a whole bunch of tasks that you do, and you do them very
effectively without too much thought. Which means that you’re at a level of ‘Unconscious Competence’.



“Unconscious Incompetence”

They might be actually quite complex things that you do, complex tasks or complex series of tasks. And, you do them without too much of a bother. Because you just automatically know what it is that needs to be done. You don’t have to put it much conscious thought into it. It’s in your long-term memory. So, there are other people, however, who you may want to delegate that task too, who may be at a level of ‘Unconscious Incompetence’.

They may be blissfully unaware. Especially of all those little things that you’ve already put into your long-term memory, and do automatically at an unconscious level. So, in order to be able to delegate effectively, especially when it comes to more complex tasks and skills, you need to be able to break things down. So, that you can become consciously competent about what it is that you do. You’re consciously aware and remember all the steps and stages. All the decisions, all the nuances that you take into consideration. And then help that other person to be able to become conscious of the fact that they are incompetent in that. That they are aware: “Oh, okay, I don’t know that. I need to put effort into it. I need to develop that skill. I need to practice that skill.

So, that they can in practice with coaching and mentoring and training if necessary. Coaching and mentoring to follow up, that they become conscious. Now, when they’re at a conscious level, any interruption will probably distract them and they may make a mistake. It’s they need all of their brainpower just to be able to do it. Well, you may already be at a level where you’re able to handle it so easy that you don’t even think about how complex it is anymore. So, think about this especially when it comes to delegation. If you’re at this level, you will not be able to communicate effectively or trained effectively someone is at this level. You need to move back here, to help them get to there. So, they can actually do the learning. So, think about this as you progress your people with coaching and mentoring and training if necessary. To be able to get them, to be able to the skills are the tasks that you do.


So, when it comes to The Trap of Unconscious Competence,

Stay Curious!



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Remember . . . Stay Curious!


With best regards,

David Klaasen 

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©David Klaasen – 2014