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Unaware

Aware

Inexperienced

Unconscious
Incompetence
Conscious
Incompetence

Experienced

Unconscious
Competence
Conscious
Competence

As you learn, you travel clockwise round the table.

It is often said that there are four levels of awareness as follows:

1. Unconscious Incompetence

Or blissful ignorance (not knowing that you don't know something)

2. Conscious Incompetence

Or painful awareness (realisation that you don't know something)

3. Conscious Competence

Or the educated individual (who learns from others)

4. Unconscious Competence

Or second nature (when it's all so obvious really!)

The Four Levels of Awareness


  1. Maybe you are doing something in a very inefficient or costly way, but you don't realise it. You are in level 1 (Unconscious Incompetence).

  2. If one day, you say to yourself: "There must be a better way to do this!", then you have moved to level 2 (Conscious Incompetence).

  3. So you get someone in to show you how to do it properly. Now you have moved to level 3 (Conscious Competence).

  4. Eventually with enough practice, it becomes second nature and you are finally in level 4 (Unconscious Competence).

Some people can move from level 2 to level 3 by working it out themselves, but usually its better and quicker to get an expert to help and that's where an external advisor comes in!


Which level are you in, when it comes to the skills needed to run a company?