What would you say? (Except, like me, “I wish I had a Porsche!”)
Does a week’s “guaranteed to pass” driving course give you the confidence that coming out of the other side waving a certificate is a competent driver, good enough to be trusted with your most prized possession?
But what makes a good driver?
Is it knowing what gear to be in? How to use the mirrors effectively? Being able to reverse around a corner? And pass the Theory Test?
Or is it all of these, but mixed with a bit of experience? Knowing the real “rules” of the road, being able to act in a situation because you’ve been there before and seeing things before they happen?
As with so many things, we often don’t take into the work place our views and expectations that we hold in our own lives. Take the newly trained Project Manager. How many times do we expect people to return from a Project Management course as a fully fledged and competent Project Manager, where in reality they have just had time to reflect on the bits they were “doing anyway” and just coming to terms with understanding the areas they had never even thought about, let alone practiced in earnest?
Becoming competent in anything is a gradual journey; no matter how much we expect it, it does not happen overnight. Yet we will often trust some of our most business critical projects to the newly accredited project managers, or worse, sometimes with those who have only had one lesson, with little or no support.
So a fundamental questions is, are people in your organisation being given the chance they deserve to succeed? Is there a learning culture, or are people afraid to admit they don’t really know how to do something, and carry on regardless – sometimes with detrimental consequences?
Like any new skill or habit, change is a journey. Telling is not the same as truly embedding. “We’ve told them what to do differently, that they need to have a better conversation with the customer and that they need to be more effective at coaching. We’ve also spent significant sums giving them new MI and systems”. And then days, weeks or months later “why is nobody doing what I expected them to do?”
Remember, Change affects People – it is complex, almost impossible to predict at times. Do not be surprised that simply giving an instruction does not result in changed behaviour – behaviours are driven by our mind set and beliefs; if these don’t change then neither will behaviour.
In order for an advisor to have a better customer conversation or for a team leader to be able to effectively coach in the moment, they need to understand what this looks like, what makes a good customer conversation or an effective coaching discussion. They probably need to unlearn some bad habits and importantly need to practice in a safe environment. With support they will gradually become competent as the changes start to properly embed. The leadership team must be fully aware of the journey people are going on and not only support this, but allow for ‘learning’ along the way.
People and Personal Growth are two of our founding values – we are passionate about developing the people we work with, not just give some tools or products and tell people to use them. We work with individuals to think differently, to have the right mind set that will drive the decisions they make. We work with leaders at every level to truly understand what leading change means, supporting the journey and the importance of focussing on the change they are after. Change is not easy, it will be resisted and it takes effort to embed. It will not happen overnight, it will be a journey and done well you will be astounded at the results you can achieve.
The learning journey in brief:
Unconsciously incompetent: my 3 year old son believes he can drive, he really does. He sits behind the wheel, makes the noises while I press the pedals (in park I hasten to add), turns the wheel – he’s driving! It will be a while before he becomes …
Consciously incompetent: the first driving lesson… it hits us like a ton of bricks… I CAN’T DRIVE!! At least I know that now and can start the journey of learning something new. Over the weeks that follow I will become…
Consciously competent: I hold the wheel at 10 to 2, never cross my hands, think carefully and deliberately each time I check the mirror or change gear. I CAN DRIVE… but what an effort! At some point during this phase I will probably pass my driving test, and then at some point after that I will move on to become…
Unconsciously competent: I don’t even think about it – jump in, ignition, clutch, gear, seat belt… all at the same time. And we’re off. I could be having a chat to a passenger at the same time, only really thinking about the conversation.
When I look back at those stalling moments on the hill, or at the green light with the patient drivers smiling encouragingly at me from behind, so much is taken for granted. To be unconsciously competent is a great feeling, but when I really think about it I cannot tell you exactly when this happened… I guess it was a gradual process that happened overnight.