Unconscious Competence LO19985

Cowan, Keith (kcowan@ORION.GLOBALDEN.com)
Wed, 25 Nov 1998 00:14:00 -0800

Replying to LO19970 --

AlonzoV@aol.com responds and ends with:

>...I feel that when one reaches a state of conscious competence, that
>should feel a sense of fear and open the mind, step outside the box and
>seek to determine what else can be learned -- what are we missing?

Acknowledging that there are competencies in an organization is a step
forward. If we can define what they are, then we should be able to narrow
down the set that are crucial to continued success. In the personal sense,
there are many competencies in which we achieve "flow state", and we then
focus on developing those other competencies considered important.

Many studies show that the individual cannot be master of many
competencies. In fact, even sports people who can excel at more than one
sport are rare. If we postulate that there are 100 competencies for an
organization, surely we would be pleased if the learning was active in ten
of those competencies.

I have worked in many startups in the high tech sector, and those
organizations are truly developing all their competencies at the same
time. This limits their growth because there are no "flow states"
operating. These gradually emerge for the successful startups to hit
stride. Hitting stride usually means that the learning has slowed down.
Yet most investors feel pretty good when their startup achieves "flow
state" in many competencies.

So I think we are talking of degrees when we say that learning is good.
For example, if an organization has a poor set of contractual or business
practices, the organization's energy will be sapped by unnecessary
lawsuits. Yet we would be hard pressed to claim that learning in the area
of business practices is key. Just that a minimum competency is needed to
avoid legal challenges. So the set of competencies must have attained
certain acceptable levels, while the executive focus is on the ones that
make a difference to shareholder value. Often marketing and product
development competencies are the diferentiators.



K. C. Cowan
Orion Technologies (ORTG) at http://www.GlobalDEN.com or 604-207-3809


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