Take responsibility. Say, “I was wrong.” (Don’t say “mistakes were made” or “it didn’t turn out the way I had anticipated” or any other version that deflects or minimizes your personal contribution). Offer a brief explanation, but do not make excuses. Acknowledge that your error had a negative impact on others, and be willing to really listen, without defensiveness, to others’ recounting of that impact. Do not interrupt. Apologize.
Address what you need to do right now. Taking responsibility is critical, as is taking action. This is core to crisis communication, even if your mistake doesn’t constitute a major crisis. Tell others what you are doing right now to remedy the mistake, and distinguish between the parts that can be fixed, and those that can’t. Include what you are doing to address the substantive impact (money, time, processes, etc.) and well as the relational impact (feelings, reputation, trust, etc.) of having been wrong. Be open to feedback about what you’re doing. Over-communicate your plans.
Share what you will do differently next time. Being wrong is messy. Being wrong without self-reflection is irresponsible, even if you hate self-reflection. Take some time to think about what your contribution was to this situation, and identify how others contributed as well. (Try to stay away from using words like “fault” or “blame” — which tend to put people on the defensive.) Then tell those impacted by your error what you’ve learned about yourself, and what you’re going to do differently in the future. For example, you might recognize that you tend to dismiss the input of someone you don’t see eye-to-eye with, and that in the future, you’re going to actively engage her, and consider her perspective. Ask for help where you need it. And ask others to give you frequent feedback down the road on the commitments you’re making.
Competence is the set of demonstrable characteristics and skills that enable, and improve the efficiency of, performance of a job. There are a ton of different models out there, but I like to think in terms of three or four different kinds of competences: professional and methodological skills; social competence; and self-competence which includes personal and activity- and implementation-oriented skills. Another great way to look at these are competencies for inter-personal (maps to social competence), intrapersonal (maps to self-competence), and cognitive (maps to professional and methodological skills).
The ongoing digital transformation (Industry 4.0) leads to changing competence requirements which means new ways of life-long teaching and learning are necessary in order to keep up.
We can look at the 4 competencies across three different categories: Human, Organization and Technology:
Soft/hardware understanding Cyber-physical system understanding Usability Human-machine interfaces
Social Competence (Inter-personal)
Inter-disciplinary thinking Managerial competence Ability to work as a team Conflict management Communication Empathy
Employee satisfaction Human centering
Lifelong learning Personal initiative Innovativeness Independent work Sense of responsibility Readiness for change
When it comes to the professional competencies there is a large spread depending on what our industries requires. As a pharmaceutical quality professional I have different professional expertise than a colleague in the construction industry. What we do have in common is the methodological expertise I listed above.
Understanding competencies is important, it allows us to determine what skills are critical, to mentor and develop our people. It also helps when you are thinking in terms of body of knowledge, and just want communities of practice should be focusing on.
We often try to solve problems as if we are outside them. When people describe a problem you will see them pointing away from themselves – you hear the word “them” a lot. “They” are seen as the problem. However, truly hard problems are system problems, and if you are part of the system (hint – you are) then you are part of the problem.
Being inside the problem means we have to understand bias and our blind spots – both as individuals, as teams and as organizations.
Understanding our blind spots
An easy tool to start thinking about this is the Johari window, a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. There are two axis, others and self. This forms four quadrants:
Arena – What is known by both self and others. It is also often referred to as the Public Area.
Blind spot – This region deals with knowledge unknown to self but visible to others, such as shortcomings or annoying habits.
Façade – This includes the features and knowledge of the individual which are not known to others. I prefer when this is called the Hidden. It was originally called facade because it can include stuff that is untrue but for the individual’s claim.
Unknown – The characteristics of the person that are unknown to both self and others.
An example of a basic Johari Window (my own) can be found here.
Users are advised to reduce the area of ‘blind spot’ and ‘unknown’, while expand the ‘arena’. The premise is that the lesser the hidden personality, the better the person becomes in relating with other people.
The use of Johari Window is popular among business coaches as
a cognitive tool to understand intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. There
isn’t much value of this tool as an empirical framework and it hasn’t held up
to academic rigor. Still, like many such things it can bring to light the
central point that we need to understand our hidden biases.
The Johari Window can also be applied to knowledge transparency, and it fits nicely to the concepts of tacit and explicit knowledge bringing to light knowledge-seeking and knowledge-sharing behavior. For example, the ‘arena’ can simply become the ‘unknown’ if there is no demand or offer pertaining to the knowledge to be occupied by the recipient or to be shared by the owner, respectively.
The Johari Window transforms with the the four quadrants changing to:
Arena – What the organization knows it knows. Contains knowledge available to the team as well as related organizations. Realizing such improvements is usually demanded by network partners and should be priority for implementation.
Façade – What the organization does know it knows. Knowledge that is only available to parts of the focal organization. Derived improvements are unexpected, but beneficial for the organization and its collaborations.
Blind Spot – What the organization knows it does not know. Knowledge only available to other organizations – internal and external. This area should be investigated with highest priority, to benefit from insights and to maintain effectiveness.
Unknown – What the organization does not know it does not know, and what the organization believes it knows but does not actually know. Knowledge about opportunities for improvement that is not available to anyone. Its identification leads to the Façade sector.