As mentioned earlier this week in this weblog, United First Financial held a leadership and training meeting these past two days in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Mac Saunders, national Director of Sales for the company, was here to share his time and a ton of information largely focused on Version 4 of the Money Merge Account, which is UFF’s stellar debt-elimination system.
Both the Duke and Duchess attended this meeting and both felt it a worthwhile event.
One thing that the Duchess plans to check out is a book mentioned by Michael Isakson, one of the speakers. It is The Dream Giver, written by Bruce Wilkinson. Another thing, shared by speaker Bill Blanchard, is a quote from Jim Rohn: “Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.”
This last notion leads nicely into remarks shared by Gene Harris, who, like Isakson and Blanchard, is a Branch Manager with UFF. Harris taught school for 31 years before retiring. He was also a football coach – actually still does coach. He shared this thought: The great Vince Lombardi worked his team on the fundamentals of the sport (starting with, “This is a football.”) and he did it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over – well, you get the idea. He drilled his teams endlessly on the basics so that they could perform properly under the pressure of game conditions. In the light of Lombardi’s approach to coaching, Harris relates the progression through the stages of incompetence or competence in dealing with situations in business – whether one’s business is football or not.
He says there are four stages of growth in any business person’s experience and that, to succeed, one must develop a beginner’s frame of mind – an awareness that will allow one to get one’s own self out of one’s own way. This represents a humility of thought that is willing to learn. But sometimes it takes a bit for one to realize that one needs a bit of assistance in getting there. He points out that failure is often the agent that provides the awakening wherein one learns to be receptive to mentoring. Commenting that all success is built on failure, he cites some of his own failures and then the numberous failures of another man, asking if we know who the man is. His record reads like this (the Duchess sincerely hopes she got all this down correctly):
This man had a difficult childhood. He failed in business in 1831. Was defeated when he ran for the legislature in 1832. Tried another business and failed in 1833. His fiancee died in 1835. Ran for speaker in 1838 and was defeated. Ran for elector in 1840 with the same result. By 1842, he was in a troubled marriage. He was defeated in his run for Congress in 1843 and did succeed (hooray for him!) in being elected in 1846. The Senate was his next attempt in 1855; he was not elected. In 1856 he ran for Vice President – no dice. Two years later, he lost a race for the Senate. One bright spot in all these attempts, folks.
But, of course the story doesn’t end there. If you haven’t figured it out by now, this may be the hint that tells you his identity: He ran for President in 1860 and was elected. This gave our country one of its finest Presidents: Abraham Lincoln.
So what stages did Mr. Lincoln go through as he battled his way up the ladder? What are the stages that everyone must face in getting to the point of running a good business? As previously stated, there are four.
The first one is called unconscious incompetence – it’s that sorry state of affairs wherein a fellow doesn’t even know what he doesn’t know. He may think he can do, but he really isn’t ready to, so he bumbles along until he realizes he has completely botched the job.
The second stage, which is called conscious competence, is born of that experience of failure – and that experience brings the dawning within the thought that one doesn’t really know how to achieve the goal. This leads to the conclusion that perhaps some training or a mentor would be a good idea – and it’s truly right where one wants to be. A truly full perception of this view brings with it a humble, receptive, listening state of mind. One becomes willing to be a student through the recognition of what they don’t know.
So with this epiphany, comes the forming of a conscious purpose and effort to grow in competence. This is the frame of mind that would bring one to such a trainig session as we were sitting in today. The fruit of this striving and educating is the third stage: conscious competence – being aware that one is now capable of doing the task.
And the last phase comes as the result of performing the fundamentals learned in gaining the conscious competence. By this time, the individual – as Mr. Harris humorously puts it – has developed “ninja lips.” Those with ninja lips have become so proficient in their business that they have moved into the ultimate stage, called unconscious competence. Having this unconscious competence signifies that one can pretty much run on auto-pilot because the information or action required is thoroughly ingrained and one can still deal successfully with the task, even without thinking too much about it.
So, as he wraps up his comments, he poses the question: “Where are you today on this scale of one to four?” And he adds this urging: “Develop the purpose to become an unconscious competent!”
There was much more and perhaps the Duchess can share some later, but now she’s off to catch some zees – and sends her wishes to all the world for sweet dreams tonight!