Doing more for yourself with less


One of our clients in the hospitality sector is getting managers to provide  staff training sessions on skills where they have outstanding competence.  Most managers are surprised that they are seen as outstanding in a particular arena. For example, one manager consistently builds great customer relationships  whilst at the same time controlling the length of the conversation with them.  She was both proud and startled to realise that her level of skill is unusual.

We often assume that what we do is just obvious – any fool would do it this way. These assumptions about competence are explained very well by the four stage  competence model , developed in the 1970s by Noel Burch for Gordon Training International.  Our hospitality manager was unconsciously competent in building customer relationships.  To train others in the skill she has to figure out what she does that works. She will almost have to freeze-frame the steps  to work out what they are and why they work. In the model this moves her into conscious unconscious competence, believe it or not!

That recognition of competence will be a tremendous boost to her self-esteem.  How beneficial for her and the organisation to also have an opportunity to extend these skills to the rest of the firm.

You can make use of the benefit of conscious unconscious competence for yourself.  Work out your competencies and then consciously use them to help in areas where you feel very incompetent!

Feeling like you don’t have any special competence? The Helen Marcoz Skills and Strengths blog can help with this. There’s also the very useful book and website: Now Discover Your Strengths.

What challenge makes you feel daunted? Look back on your areas of competency and see what you can use from there to apply to this new situation.  Where else have you faced something similar and what could you use from that experience?

The answer generally lies within us.


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