Plotting the learning curve

Something entirely practical this time round! Our family is currently in the process of birthing a new business venture. Times like these can overwhelm as it’s sink or swim in the worst of the white water. Fortunately there are numerous handy little think-tools that can help us stay orientated in the rapids. Here is one such tool that I picked up along the way decades ago, and which has served me well through the years. It’s purpose is to help us plot ourselves against the learning curve for our particular journey.

The learning curve starts at Unconscious Incompetence. This is the place of total ignorance. You don’t even know what you don’t know!

Conscious Incompetence. This represents a giant leap forward for the learner, as at CI you’re staring to get a handle on what you don’t know. At this point Google is your friend like never before as you go looking for info and experts. There is stuff to learn, and the challenge is finding where and how to source and digest what you need to acquire.

The midpoint on the learning curve is Unconscious Competence. UC calls for a cool nerve, a clear head, and a steady hand. Breath deeply and slowly. You’ve learnt a great deal and begun to get a handle on things, but you’re untried and untested, and therefore unsure. This is the time for careful decision making. Think things through. Adopt a unified approach from amongst the many options. Yoke yourself to a clear direction, keep detailed records, and commit to follow through. You’re no expert, but you’re also no longer clueless. A blend of caution and courage and a carefully construed plan and you’ll be fine.

Stop four on the learning curve celebrates achievement. This is Conscious Competence turf. CC is the place where you know what to do and how to do it, but it still absorbs a great deal of concentration and energy. You’re still living off notes, and thinking and planning in careful steps, but you’re doing the stuff. At this point you can raise a glass to having acquired a new skill or successfully launched a new venture. At this pint you’re honing skills, refining approaches, establishing systems and documenting essentials. You’re writing the manual.

Subconscious Competence. You can do without thinking about what you’re doing. What once demanded your all is now a part of your life. It’s become second nature. When you’re here it’s said about you that you’ve already forgotten what others have yet to learn.

There it is! Chart yourself on the curve in any process of learning and you can pinpoint how to best direct your time and energy.

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