Teach Employees What They Don't Know They Need

Teach Employees What They Don't Know They Need
2/19/2018

Unconscious incompetence is found at every function, discipline and level in organizations, says Ulrik Juul Christensen, executive chairman of Area9 Group and former senior fellow for digital learning on the executive leadership team for McGraw-Hill Education. “In fact, it’s often more prominent among experienced staff, which is particularly problematic because, as the go-to people in their circles, they often pass incorrect or incomplete information and skills on to others.”

So what can you do about it? Christensen has some advice:

Redesign training programs to engage learners and get them to admit what they don’t know.

When being trained, get learners to rate the confidence of their answers. Christensen suggests, for example, if a person does well on a training assessment to not just focus on the few questions the person got wrong, but on the ones that the person can admit were lucky guesses.  

Promote continuous improvement. “More companies should keep formal or informal records of—and openly discuss—errors because they can yield invaluable insights about employees’ knowledge gaps and make everyone more aware of what they don’t know,” Christensen says.

Unconscious incompetence is pervasive, Christensen says, and the only way to address this challenge is with adaptive, individualized learning programs that promote a culture of continuous improvement throughout the organization.

Note: This article appears in the January 2018 magazine issue of Dairy Herd Management.

Tags: Management Tips, Managing Employees