Conscious Competence: unlearning to learn new things when dealing with customers

Markets, companies and customers are changing. And at a rapid speed.

If you and your business manage to stay fresh and agile on your learning curve, if you manage to keep learning and adapting consistently, — your business model, your value proposition, and sales will have a lasting history of success.

Learn, unlearn and relearn. This is how we stay current and get ahead.

When I am saying unlearn, I do not mean consume new information in the field just to “sell faster and sell more”. There is so much more to it than that. And above all, it is about unlearning to become better and to develop a new level of awareness. This is what this article is about.

Conscious Competence: What is it about

Each of us is skilled in certain fields, whether consciously or unconsciously. From an initial unconscious incompetence to a later unconscious competence over several hours leads the model or the method of the Conscious Competence Matrix.

Learning in customer relations

Acquiring new knowledge in the current environment has been significantly facilitated due to such common tools and opportunities today as Youtube, Meetups, Massive open online Courses (MOOC) and a lot more.

We do not have to thumb through the dusty books in the library in order to find out about the newest trends in the marketing channels, for instance. Today you can gain valuable information and knowledge fast and even in an interactive way.
Yes, sometimes it takes some letting go, a perspective change, and a lot of relearning.

Unlearn to improve yourself

When the old knowledge compromises the capabilities of our brain to perceive and process the new information, the process of learning goes way slower than we would like it to. Perhaps, you‘re experiencing difficulties driving your new automatic gearbox vehicle simply because you have been driving your old car with the manual gearbox for too long.
Others, for instance, having some remnant knowledge of French since school days, aspire to start learning Spanish. While the French language competence was abandoned while not yet developed, this person will mostly wind up with some French version of Spanish, or Spanish version of French.

“To unlearn” may, however, sound a bit misleading. It is more about how to consciously discard the “outdated and redundant” knowledge because your brain simply does not use it anymore.

Below we present the three vital elements that the decision makers in companies should actively change their views about in order to improve their skills in handling customers.

Learning to Unlearn is just the beginning

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3 things that executives in companies should unlearn in order to improve

1. Unlearn waiting

Do you keep waiting for some recommendation or a special chance to find yourself and your company to recognize your relevance and growth? Are you waiting for consumers to recognize how unique your company is and everything you do? 

If you are continuously waiting to be discovered and loved, then you get what is left, while those who are more active and confident go forward and create the world they have dreamt about.

2. Unlearn excuses

Have you ever asked yourself why you don’t get what you want? The reason is not in your education, financial status, networks or how much time you’ve been making efforts in your business. The actual reason is that you always find someone at fault, there is always room for excuses and accusations thrown at someone else but you. You have to open your eyes and realize that you and your team are 100% responsible for your success.

3. Unlearn selling

Let’s think a little on the following: Most people sell in a way they have learned from someone else. Did it occur to you that the person from whom you learned to sell might not have actually been good at what they taught you? What if they were selling just something they have learned very well from others? Just ponder for a moment and imagine that. 

Just discard these old perspectives from your mind and refocus towards what value, in essence, you and your company can offer to your clients. At this point, you can go a bit deeper and unveil the value generating elements. Marketing and selling value propositions you enable your customers to enjoy the true added value factor, giving them the happiest customer experience ever. At the end of the day, the whole success depends on the customer experience.

Awareness about lessons learned - 4 steps of learning

Before ever learning any new skills, we often lack the true understanding of why we need those new abilities, the understanding of the application and, perhaps, the very existence of certain abilities available to us. No one knows everything. For instance, there are aspects of the quantum physics, that we have zero clue about; likewise, it would be difficult to explain what and how much we know or do not know as compared to other people. It happens to every one of us as we find ourselves confronted with a totally unfamiliar field of knowledge.
This first stage in the learning matrix of the conscious (Conscious Competence Learning Matrix) is called unconscious incompetence.

conscious competence learning steps
The second level of the Conscious Competence Learning Matrix is so-called conscious incompetence. In this stage, one firstly recognizes his own incompetence and inabilities, which means he is laying the foundation to his learning, by admitting the lack of and the necessity to gain the new knowledge. So, you start exercising and practicing the new things, you are meticulously collecting feedbacks and over some period of time, you reach a certain competence level. How long it will take depends on various factors, such as the desire to learn or the urge, the quality of feedbacks, your concentration and those things that are yet to be revealed, — all of these can finally affect the result.

Level 3 of the Conscious Competence Learning Matrix means you have acquired the new knowledge and skills and you have fully recognized this fact. You are regularly putting the newly acquired capabilities to the real test and gaining increasingly more confidence in it. As time goes by, and you practice more and more while building some truly reliable experience, the things become automatic for you. This is where you reach conscious competence.

The highest level of the learning matrix is unconscious competence. It means that you have reached the highest level of qualification competence and can execute various tasks without conscious effort and stress. It becomes a piece of cake for you, and you even enjoy the process.

How you get going

How can you change your way of thinking today? Quite simple: find a minute and a quiet place where you won’t have any distractions, and think carefully about your current business model, your customers, your marketing channels and your product. 
Ask yourself: Why are these things the way they are? And ask yourself next question (like children do), why so? The best mode is to go for it 4 or 5 times. 
Scrutinizing your reality picture this way you will definitely hit on the spot where you realize that at some places you have made decisions while being influenced by something, for instance, by somebody else’s experience.

This tip will help you to find the entry points to the approach for unlearning and learning again. Here, in tractionwise, we will be glad to help you and support you on your way to unlearn some relict approaches in your marketing and refresh your customer-centric policies.

About Me

As a growth marketing expert and customer developer, I experience every day how important a customer-centric corporate culture is. 

In combination with agile testing and optimization processes, you will bring your growth fully on course.


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