How does incompetence creep into the organisation?
Infectious incompetence thrives in people, those with fixed mindsets who have become experts at the blame game. Failure defines them. However, this incompetence hides inside the cells of the immune system represented by the culture within the organisation and well hidden does not generate an obvious immune response. Yet, incompetence has stealth it multiplies inside these cells, and infects others creating further infections of apathy, detachment, disinterest, fear.
The Antidote for Incompetence
The antidote for this disease called incompetence is rigorous and regular conversations focused on the competencies required for the individual to make a greater impact, and a significant increase in contribution. The competency based performance management discussion makes what the required contribution is and how that is supported in delivery by behavioural skills very clear and regular doses of it are the best way to penetrate the infection.
What else enables incompetence to breed?
Ineffective human resource management processes enable incompetence to trespass. Recruitment and Selection procedures riddled with bias and subjectivity, failure to identify the competencies relevant to the role, and failure to get evidence of that competency is an open door for incompetence to enter and infest.
Mediocre Learning and Development
There is an abundance of opportunity here to allow the incompetence parasite to go undetected. Failing to identify the aspects of competent performance prior to designing a training course is common. Of course this allows the infection to lay dormant because it is never challenged or exposed.
Failure to provide a sufficient variety of methods that present opportunity to apply, practice, reflect, and apply again in a variety of work related contexts. These methods also allow assessment providing the opportunity to identify symptoms of incompetence – a lost opportunity which enables the bacteria to simply thrive in its comfort zone of conscious incompetence and complacency.
Of course when the learning experience lacks context, when the opportunity to develop competencies related to enhanced job performance are not explicit then application is left to chance.
Incompetence simply fails to thrive when competency based learning and development is properly prescribed. Identifying competency requirements is a fundamental part of training needs analysis, learning design can never be focused on adding value to your business without this.