Every single one of your workers fits into one of the categories in the Knowledge Confidence Square. Think about your team as we move through each square: Who is often full of doubt? Who is uninformed? Who has reached a mastery level?
The Most Desirable Square
Arguably every company wants every single employee to fit into the top right box: Expert. Of course! Which one of your employees is at or approaching this Job Mastery level?
And you may be able to immediately identify one or two more people who fit into the bottom left—Uninformed. You may immediately identify this state Paralysis as the “bad square” since at first glance it may seem that nothing is happening at all — not knowing anything, and not doing anything. But this could be a new hire, that is yet to learn and gain confidence. And while you wouldn’t want an employee to remain here long, even if they do, this still isn’t the worst place to be.
The bottom right isn’t, either. While they may have knowledge but little confidence, their doubt prevents them from acting on any information. Who in your company is in this Hesitation stage? Could coaching and refresher training move them to Job Mastery?
The Least Desirable Square
It might not be obvious at first, but the top left “Misinformed” is the most dangerous box for an employee to be in. Dangerous both to him or herself, and those around them.
Here’s why: this square correlates to how much knowledge and how much confidence a worker has about his or her role and responsibilities. So if they have the most amount of confidence, they won’t every realize they have the least amount of knowledge. This is a potentially fatal combination: this person has no clue about what they are doing, but they’re so confident that they are doing it right. Hello, injuries, quality problems, and defects. Making a terrible situation worse, this employee’s overconfidence probably has them training and/or telling others how to do things the same way. As in, the wrong way.
So who fits in this box at your company? Can you, right now, think of someone who doesn’t think they do anything wrong? Sometimes it’s easier to ignore the Mistakes, after all, at least they’re getting things done (unlike those folks in Paralysis or Hesitation states). But take note: this Misinformed person will pass on their misinformation, turning those Doubtful employees into Misinformed employees. All these mistakes cause defects or injuries. This is both costly and potentially deadly.
Built-In Knowledge and Confidence
At Intertek Alchemy we design our programs to build both knowledge and confidence through structured knowledge checks, refresher courses, on-the-floor reinforcement, and validation through observations and coaching. Giving your team the tools to change behaviors, learn valuable and required information, and build a culture of responsibility is the fastest, most effective way of moving workers through the Knowledge Confidence square so that they arrive at Job Mastery at an accelerated rate.