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Is Unconscious Competence a Leadership Value?



Talent is Overrated suggests the long held belief that some people are just naturally better than others at things is incorrect. Their research suggests that anyone who became excellent practiced frequently and took years to reach their proficiency.
We’ve learned that there are four stages to competence, starting with unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, and finally unconscious competence. It suggests that we start out unaware of our incompetence and end up being unaware or automatic in our competence. As a leader or performer it would seem to be a desirable attribute to acquire.
Geoff Colvin author of Talent is Overrated suggests that being automatic is not the skill we might think it is. In fact what he says separates a Tiger Woods or proficiency in any field is that the level of practice they do allows them to not be automatic.
An example of this is in the middle of a back swing someone hoots or hollers at Tiger. Does he proceed through the swing to hit the ball? No. He stops, composes himself, aligns himself with the ball, addresses it and then hits it after take a few moments to relieve the tension the sounds may have caused him. 
That’s the difference that practice and experience makes. That’s why practice is so important to improve our proficiency and professionalism. 
What does this suggest to you?   I confess that this spins my world around and makes me look at practicing in a whole new light. Colvin also suggests that practice isn’t fun, and in fact that it is extremely hard work, which also reduces the idea that working on our strengths is much more enjoyable often touted by StrengthsFinder and the Gallup people. Talent is Overrated in essence argues that talent means nothing like what we think it means, if indeed it means anything at all. The very existence of talent is not, possibly supported by evidence.

How do these two conflicting ideas come together. I’ll share with you how as I continue my understanding of Talent is Overrated in future blogs.

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