Levels of Competency within Business Change Engagement

03 December 2009

The theory of four levels of competency is well known in knowledge-transfer environments but it's also worth considering in business change environments. The theory describes increasing levels of competency in any given particular task or knowledge area. It can be summarised for business change environments as:

Unconscious incompetence – when you don't know that you don't know about something.
Conscious incompetence – when you know that you don't know about something but don’t know what to do about it.
Conscious competence – when you know what needs to be done but need a step-by-step guide to do it.
Unconscious competence – when you know what needs to be done and can do it without guidance but also understand the implications and impacts for your other work areas.

If you are giving a presentation or writing a document, it makes sense to consider the target audience in terms of these competencies and what outcomes you need. For example, for a lecture to a small, skilled group, you may judge that most of the audience is at Level 3 at the start of your lecture and you want an outcome that most of the audience is at Level 4.

Now consider a different scenario where you are giving a presentation to a large group whom you judge to be at Level 1. This scenario may occur, for example, at the beginning of a large corporate change programme. Your objective may be to move the audience from Level 1 to Level 3 or 4. In this scenario, it may be sensible to have multiple presentations to the audience, as coordinated by a communications plan.

There are other differences in the two scenarios. In the first, one presentation may be sufficient and feedback is limited to questions from the audience.  In the second, you would consider using several different communications media to get your message across. You would also plan to collect detailed feedback to ensure that your message is being understood correctly.


Success Stories

"Agilier's experience in managing business processes made them an ideal candidate to manage functional integration thereby reducing a significant risk to the business. This involved them working with the workstream leads and developing a high-level integrated businesses process against which we planned our programme."

Chris Davies
Programme Manager, EADS Defence and Communications Systems


"I was extremely happy with the professional and complete way that Agilier performed their work and would not hesitate to use their services again."

Mike Haynes
Senior Project Manager, Cogent Defence and Security Networks


Our latest writings, or thought-pieces, appear here.

Take a look at our free, time-saving templates in our new section.

Keep in touch with the latest ideas to help your organisation deliver. Click here for more.

RSS Feed