Competency = Knowledge + Skill + Behavior / Filling the knowledge gap

23 Jun Competency = Knowledge + Skill + Behavior / Filling the knowledge gap

How often do we teach someone to do something and then walk away assuming they will apply their new skill effectively? We observe afterwards that they are not applying the skill successfully. Why not?

I wouldn’t say that my son is a good fisherman, he doesn’t catch many fish! But I’ve taught my son to cast a line; he can bait a hook. I’m sure I could teach him to rig up a line. So why don’t his skills flourish such that he becomes a good fisherman? Because he doesn’t know much about or take into account tide movements, the impact of the moon, what fish feed where in the water, top, middle or bottom etc. And lastly he doesn’t have behavioural attributes associated with patience!

So perhaps the “equation” of

Competency = Knowledge + Skill + Behavior makes sense given competency is defined as the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

Further, we have these 3 definitions:

  • Knowledge = what is known in a particular field, facts and information.
  • Skill = the ability to do something well.
  • Behavior = the way in which a person acts in response to a particular situation or stimulus, particularly with respect to others.

Considering these definitions it is therefore correct to say that someone’s competency is a product of what facts and information they have at hand, how well they can do the task, and how they conduct themselves when applying the skill.

When you think of people you know that are highly competent at something, you will recognise all 3 aspects noted above.

In TWI (Training Within Industry) the five needs of effective supervision covers the aspects of knowledge and skill. And I suggest that a leader who practices the skill of Job Relations would exhibit sound behaviors. In TWI Job Instruction, Step 1 of the 4-step method, we “find out what the person already knows”. Why? Because what they know will impact their eventual competency in the task they are about to be taught.

In the “equation” Competency = Knowledge + Skill + Behavior is the order important? First we gain the necessary knowledge (Job Instruction just illustrated the need for that), then we develop our ability, then we apply the skill along with appropriate behaviors.

So if we need to gain knowledge first, then in terms of making this “equation” efficient, the question now becomes how can we gain knowledge quickly?

I hate to say this but here is where the internet comes in. I have a love hate relationship with the internet and electronic media/communication in general! I do accept that the multi-media aspect of sight and sound found on the internet is a very effective way of building knowledge (both good and bad) quickly. We only have to look at our children to see that. My son could recognise numbers 7 and 3 a long time before he could count. Why? Because I gave him access to aircraft sites on the computer and loved looking at 777s and 737s.

So for ultimate competency we can start with providing access to reliable credible internet based material which provides a sound foundation for skill development. A “google search” might pick up anything, credible or otherwise!

Once required knowledge is attained, we move on to “telling, showing and illustrating” as this is a sure and reliable principle when building skills.

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