It’s one of those questions that we often laugh about and then generally agree that we couldn’t possibly pass driving test if we had to sit again tomorrow. Yet most of us think that we are good drivers, and quite probably we are. But it is true that our driving style will have probably changed and we do things a little differently to the time when we took our test. It is likely that we have got better at some things such as driving in extreme conditions. We may have got worse at some things such as parallel parking if it’s a skill we don’t need on a day-to-day basis. But what if we don’t realise how we have changed? How do we know we are still safe?
The same question applies in business and at work. Managers in particular are subject to a raft of training and development at the start of their career. They gain experience, they move around, they get promoted. They may have the opportunity for more training and development but these are often less frequent and they don’t seem as keen. Often, managers and other professionals are invited on training events but turned them down saying that they’ve “done all that before”.
Maybe they have, but what if (like our driving skills) the WAY they do it has changed? What if they’ve forgotten certain aspects or slipped into bad habits? There is a wonderful 4-box model called the “Conscious Competence” Model that describes how we go through the following phases:
- Unconscious incompetence – We don’t know what we don’t know – we are in fact oblivious
- Conscious incompetence – We are aware of what we don’t know/can’t do
- Conscious competence – We know/can do something, but we have to think about it, concentrate and maybe use support
- Unconscious competence – We ‘just know’ things, or can do things without even thinking about it….Like many of us are with driving.
BUT….when we doing things without thinking, working instinctively if you like, we can sometimes fall back into ‘unconscious incompetence’ – we are oblivious to our errors and failings.
And for this reason, it is VITAL that managers, professionals, business owners and craftsmen complete refresher training. Not only may the world have changed, but they may have inadvertently slipped into bad habits. Refresher training need not take long: short training sessions (either live or on-line) may be enough to remind people of best practice. Refresher training need not be prescriptive: often a facilitated event sharing expertise spreads best practice around.
Even in the unlikely event that people DON’T learn anything from refresher training, it will be a great confidence boost to know that they doing everything right.
So, in these cash-strapped times, think about maintaining the talent that you have – it could be a very wise investment.