Many things are needed to become successful in business. One important aspect is the ability and willingness to learn new things. With that said, there are four distinct types of people in the world, and four stages of competence:
1. Unconscious incompetence. These people don’t know that they do not know. They are blissfully unaware and are ok with that.
2. Conscious incompetence. These individuals know they do not know and are willing to seek the answers to the questions they have or learn how to solve their problems.
3. Conscious competence. This person knows how to do something, but they are working hard to master the skill. They aren’t quite there yet.
4. Unconscious competence. This is a skill that has been mastered and can be performed with little thought or effort.
When it comes to running a business, being competent is mandatory. You must know what you’re doing to make it a successful. Unfortunately, this can be a blessing and a curse.
The Dangers of Not Knowing
The two most dangerous types of people in business are the unconscious incompetent and the conscious competent. Can they be one and the same?
The unconscious incompetent doesn’t realize what he does not know can hurt him and his business in the long run. However, it’s very possible he’s become a conscious competent in the things he does know.
A perfect example of this is a person who knows how to bake cakes. Everyone raves about how good their cakes are, so they decide to open a bakery. In this example they are a conscious competent. Baking cakes is easy for them.
However, that’s ALL they know how to do. they are blissfully unaware of the other steps needed to run a bakery:
- Getting the kitchen up to code
- Filing the appropriate tax documents
- Hiring staff
- Advertising and marketing
In this case, they are an unconscious incompetent. They don’t worry about these things or consider them not important. They don’t try to learn these aspects of the business because they feel good cakes will make everything better. This type of thinking (and lack of knowledge) will hurt their business, increasing the probability that it will fail.
Another example is a doctor or lawyer who graduated from their respective schools ten years ago. In both cases, they were good at what they did, but the doctor failed to keep up with the new medical procedures, and the attorney didn’t know about the various changes in laws. As a result, they both became unconscious incompetents and quickly lost clients and became subject to lawsuits.
No matter who you are or what type of business you have, it’s important to remember one important thing: there’s a lot you still don’t know. Never stop learning and seeking knowledge. The day you think you know everything is the day you start to lose. Your growth has been stopped and your competitors will capitalize on your mistakes.
In business and life, you must be a conscious incompetent. By constantly looking for new ways to improve your business, you will find ways to get better, thus increasing your odds of becoming a success!
In this day and age, having a business is more important then ever: Automation has made many jobs obsolete, and layoffs can strike at any time. (Our bills don’t care if you have a job or not.) It is time to seriously consider starting your own business and creating your own income.
Learn how to create your own business in my new book Readi – Set Go: A Simple Guide to Establishing a Successful Small Business. Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Pick up a copy HERE for you or an inspiring entrepreneur today!