Dialogue LO24090

From: John Gunkler (jgunkler@sprintmail.com)
Date: 02/29/00

Replying to LO24036 --

To Celia Moriarty (and anyone else "listening" in),

Thanks for telling us about your use of physical (concrete) operations in
helping executives learn. As you say, "... although we think of this as
an early developmental stage it is something in my experienc[e] that can
be tapped into throughout life to make learning easier." I agree

I was also struck by the relationship between what you do and something we
discussed on this list quite a long time ago. We talked about the
four-part hierarchy formed by pairing "conscious - unconscious" with
"competence - incompetence." Very quick summary: When one is an
unconscious incompetent, one does not choose to learn; becoming conscious
(aware) of one's incompetence is a prerequisite, and a motivation, for
learning. However, many highly competent performers (it's especially easy
to see this in athletics, but it applies everywhere) are not conscious of
how they do what they do. Many a fine athlete makes a very poor coach.
For instance, at the height of his career, someone asked Jack Nicklaus,
the golfer, what he thought about as he addressed the ball. Jack thought
and thought, then replied, "All I think is, 'Swing.'" This is undoubtedly
true, and not at all useful in teaching someone else -- and, by the way,
not at all useful in helping himself get out of a slump.

I would suggest that many, if not most, of the executives you work with
are quite competent in most of what they do -- and not conscious of what
they do that makes them successful. In some ways what you do is interpose
physical cues that force them to be more conscious of what they are doing.
Being conscious of what you are doing gives you the chance to change it.

John W. Gunkler


"John Gunkler" <jgunkler@sprintmail.com>

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