Tag Archive for 'performance'

The Four Levels of Performance Consciousness

Ever wonder why some people are effective in their work while others aren’t?  The answer may be found in their consciousness. But it’s about being aware, not just awake.

Take a look at the four levels of performance consciousness.

1. Unconscious Incompetent
The Unconscious Incompetent doesn’t know that he doesn’t know. He’s also called a DK2, which is short for, “don’t know, squared.” He’s not only incapable but actually clueless about his inability.

In truth everyone is a DK2 from time to time. The challenge is to not live our lives as one because DK2 is a terminal professional condition. But if you’re thinking, “Oh, Great One! Please, stop me before I DK2 again,” don’t fret; we’ll get to that.

Photo courtesy of Impact Learning

Photo courtesy of Impact Learning

Don’t envy the Unconscious Competent because not knowing how you got where you are is one of the definitions of lost. Any resulting success is also likely to be temporary.

3. Conscious Incompetent
This person is incapable and knows it. There’s no ego about what he thinks he knows and no resistance to your methods and practices. A Conscious Incompetent is an amorphous block of disciple clay waiting to be molded by you, the sculptor.

Be careful. Sometimes this person wallows in his condition as an excuse for non-performance. Conscious Incompetence should be a temporary condition on the way to the ultimate level of consciousness.

4. Conscious Competent
This person gets the job done and knows why. She can identify what causes success while being fully aware—and taking ownership—of failures.

How do you become a Conscious Competent? Through a practice called self-analysis.

Self-analysis allows us to see what we do well and capitalize on it, as well as recognize and evaluate what we don’t do well and improve or minimize it. It’s not easy because it requires control of our egos.

Ego obstructs self-analysis by telling us that any success we have is because we’re so smart, while assuring us that any failures we experience couldn’t be our fault. Successful self-analysis is part of a conscious plan for professional improvement.

By practicing self-analysis, Conscious Competents discover the enduring benefits of being honest with themselves about their own performance.

Write this on a rock… If professional excellence were a mountain, Conscious Competence would be its peak.

Replace worry with small business performance

In Blue Highways, William “Least Heat Moon” Trogdon said his Osage Indian grandfather, William “Heat” Moon, taught him this about worry: “Some things don’t have to be remembered; they remember themselves.”

Entrepreneurs are often justified in worrying about their small businesses. But sometimes we waste emotional energy worrying about things over which we have little or no control, or something that isn’t likely to happen.

In the movie, Bowfinger, Eddie Murphy played Kit Ramsey, an action movie star who was also famous for being a pathological worrier. He worried about really strange things that would never happen, and it caused him to lead a frightened and miserable life.

Ramsey’s greatest worry was being captured, killed and eaten by space aliens. He also worried about being crushed by a gigantic foot, and that his body might burst into flames. Pretty silly, huh?! Watching Murphy play this unstable character is hilarious. But it also makes you think about how silly we are to worry about things that, like Ramsey’s obsessions, probably will never happen.

Instead of space aliens, how much time do we spend stressing out about our businesses being killed and eaten by the dreaded foreign competition? Instead of being stepped on by a giant foot, we obsess about being squashed by a Big Box Competitor. And instead of literally bursting into flames, we wake up in the middle of the night worrying that one day our customers will abandon us and our business will internally combust and go up in smoke.

In truth, unlike Kit Ramsey’s worries, these small business analogies actually could happen. But instead of living a frightened and miserable life worrying about them, let’s put all of that brain energy into doing what we can to make sure any competitor would be hard-pressed to take our customers away.

Stop worrying about fighting a price war with the Big Boxes. Remember: That war is over, and small business lost. Don’t make price a bigger issue than it needs to be. Instead, deliver so much value that price becomes a non-issue.

Stop obsessing about foreign competitors. They may have what your customers need, but they don’t know the one thing that only you know: what your customers want.

Your goal should be that when something a customer wants pops into their heads, if you sell it, your company, as Trogdon’s grandfather would say, should remember itself.

Don’t live a frightened and miserable life. Replace worry with action and performance.

Fight small business fear with performance

Anyone who has contemplated forsaking the perceived, if not real, security of employment to start a business has come face-to-face with the real possibility, as well as the dangers, of failure. Indeed, countless prospective owners discontinue their entrepreneurial pursuits for fear of losing too much –- the risk being just too great.

But fear can be an immobilizer — holding you back; or a motivator — giving you critical information. The only way to make sure it’s the latter is through performance, which includes being nimble and flexible, all of which require you to be armed with what I call, “the fear-fighting tools.” Here’s my short list of fear-fighting tools: awareness, knowledge, experience, training, planning, preparedness, decisiveness and execution.

In an interview today with Peter Meyer, author of “Warp-Speed Growth,” on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, we talked about overcoming fear and being an effective manager even in a difficult economic environment. Peter is a world-class management expert. Click on the listening option below and take a few minutes to listen to our discussion on this very timely topic. And if you have something to contribute to this discussion, please post those comments here so that others can learn from you.

Finally, remember that once you have full command of the fear-fighting tools you can replace fear with its archenemy, total confidence. Good luck.




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