How To Avoid Falling Off The Top Step

How can you avoid falling off the top step?  What is “the top step”?

Did you ever learn to drive a car? If so, you would have gone through the four stages of development known as the Conscious Competence Model which was developed by Noel Burch in the 1970s.

You have to start from a place of unconscious incompetence – you don’t know what you can’t do.  I certainly didn’t know I couldn’t drive a car until I tried it.  This is the second stage of development – conscious incompetence, which became very obvious to me when I got behind the wheel.

After lots of lessons and practice I was, if I concentrated very hard, able to pass my driving test – the third stage known as conscious competence.

With more practice I reached the dizzying heights of step four – unconscious competence.  A place where I don’t think about driving, I just do it.

The problem is that I, like most people have fallen off the top step and become unconsciously incompetent again – only in some areas,  I’ve got some bad habits like crossing my hands on the wheel which would mean I’d fail my competency test.

So, how do we stop falling off the top step?  Quite simply, we need to step down from the top step and become more conscious of our competence.  Reflect on our performance and re-skill ourselves.

It’s an opportunity to revisit the skills we don’t use any more, or the skills, knowledge and understanding we never quite got the first time around.  This is the purpose of refresher training.

Refreshers should be designed to be flexible and learner focused to meet the needs of individuals who might have lost or forgotten different skills and concepts.  They should always start with some reflection to allow everyone to focus on their own situation and analyse their learning needs.

Simply repeating the original training in the same format is not helpful.  If you missed something the first time around there’s a very good chance you’ll miss it the second, third and fourth time.

Refresher training also doesn’t have to be a course, it can be one to one coaching, Action Learning Sets and any of the available learning methods (as the original training can be, of course).

So, if you want to avoid falling off the top step, reflect and refresh.  And, if you’d like to know how to do this really effectively, get in touch and we can discuss it.

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