Conscious Competence

Dana Achieved Conscious Competence!

Dana is a man who has successfully managed a logistics support business for 25 years.  He and his crew haul machine parts and other products to shipping ports and airports. Dana is an example of someone, like many of us, who possessed unconscious competence.   In other words, he did a fabulous job, yet he would be hard pressed to speak about exactly what it was that he did. Even though he has this deep Isaac Hayes voice that makes you trust that he knows what he is doing.

We talked about the four stages of his truck driving career.  Before Dana learned to drive the big truck, he had unconscious incompetence, because he didn’t know what he didn’t know.  When he started truck driving school he had conscious incompetence. He did know what he didn’t know about driving a rig.  When Dana finished the course, he had conscious competence, because he did know very precisely what he knew.  He was very focused on exactly what it took to drive the truck safely to his destination.  Like Dana, after a while we all develop unconscious competence, because we are no longer conscious of precisely what we are doing. We are just driving the equivalent of that big rig…and listening to music on our mobile phone.

After conversation, Dana became more conscious of his key work challenge. He unconsciously spent too much time on the “nice to do “activities instead of the “need to do” activities of a successful manager. He gained an understanding of the value of making a conscious decision to focus on those things that would allow him to achieve superior results through others. He decided that he needed to bring himself back to conscious consciousness.  He wrote down each of his roles and all the related duties that he performs that make his business the success that it is.  He determined to do the things he labeled the most important and eliminate the things he has labeled the least important.  He then decided which tasks to delegate or defer till later.

Where in your business do you need to develop conscious competence?

Through these actions, Dana gained more time to do the things he loves, had less stress, and a happier staff that was thrilled to be taking on more responsibility. Rework decreased by 10%. Efficiency increased by 20%.

Dana achieved conscious competence again by writing down his roles and responsibilities.

Decide where you need conscious competence in your work, and consciously write down your roles and your responsibilities.


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