Have you ever driven somewhere, lost in thought, and suddenly wondered how you got there? Did you actually stop at all the stop streets? Were you conscious of all the potential hazards you passed along the way? Did you arrive at your destination despite your lack of concentration?

It’s easy to fall into the same trap in business. You get into the daily routine of going to work, being busy, getting things done and “keeping your head above water”. The next thing you know, you’ve lost touch with the industry, your customers, your team and you are not sure how you got into the rut you find yourself in.

Being unconscious is one’s lack of ability to see and be aware of things around you. And it is one of the major pitfalls of business success.

It could relate to the lack of tracking the key numbers in your business, not knowing where the monthly breakeven point is, not knowing how many sales are needed to break even, etc. It means you don’t know what your competitors are up, how your behaviour or leadership is impacting your team, or how your customers feel about you.

Unconscious incompetence

Being “unconsciously incompetent” is the worst type of unconsciousness! In this state, you don’t know what you don’t know. You live your life and run your business oblivious to what is going on around you, and your growth is stunted. These businesses and executives have no idea that their service or product is poor, and it’s just a matter of time before the business fails.

Unconscious competence

On the converse, you could also be “unconsciously competent”. Like in the example of driving your car, you’ve done it so often and are so competent at it that you don’t have to think about it much anymore. This is equally dangerous. It makes you complacent and when you encounter the hazards and curve balls, you are not ready to react appropriately. We coach many businesses in this position. They have grown quickly and are successful despite themselves, and are not entirely sure how they got there and what their strengths are. This lack of awareness and focus will eventually impact the long-term sustainability of the business.

Conscious competence

A focus on consciousness will help you understand your market, your customers and your team, make good decisions about where to push company resources and efforts, and drive the business forward in its plateau stage. When you are aware of your strengths, you can capitalise on them.

Conscious incompetence

By far the best position to be in, is a level of conscious incompetence. This is where you are aware of your weaknesses and what you don’t know. It’s powerful, because it is packed with potential. When you are conscious of your incompetence, you can identify and address obstacles, plug gaps and increase knowledge and skills, which is the trigger to get you learning and ultimately growing.

For those who may be unconscious, we can help move you into a conscious state by helping you identify your competencies and incompetencies. And once you are conscious, the potential for increased growth and business success is tangible. Give me a call.

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