Unconscious Competence Could be Damaging Your Business

If you have done any leadership development you may have comes across the competence continuum that goes something like this –

Conscious and Unconscious Competence

We all seem to want to go reach that stage of Unconscious Competence, when we won’t have to think about what we are doing and the steps to take each time, so it “just happens”.

Learned tasks can drop out of mind. Can you drive and listen to the radio at the same time? Ever arrived at a destination and not known how you got there? Ever been on a conference call, or at a meeting, where you weren’t actively participating and still you managed to clear out your inbox? Some people would call this multi-tasking, others call it mindlessness.

As we repeat certain tasks over and over, on a regular basic, we get better at it. The individual steps of the task move out of our consciousness. Over time we assume that we can do the task even though we don’t know how to do it (try teaching your kids or someone else how to drive a manual car). Repetition (driving the car, typing, communication style, facial expressions …) can lead to mindlessness in almost any situation, in most organisations, and by the most competent experts.

Try this exercise in rhythm –

Q – What do we call the tree that grows from acorns?
A – Oak

Q – What do we call a funny story?
A – Joke

Q – What sounds does a frog make?
A – Croak

Q – What do we call the white of an egg?
A – Yolk (sic)???

Where is mindlessness effecting your organisations efficiency, safety or bottom line?


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