I don’t yet know what I don’t know

Starting any new job can be intimidating. Andrea talks about understanding the 4 Stages Of Learning Model.

Starting any new job can be intimidating. I feel as though I’m setting sail on an adventurous voyage having never stepped on a boat let alone a ship!

You have a set of skills and experience that have got you through the front door but there is a world of new information, most of which, you’re not yet aware you need to know.

It’s not just about impressing the new boss or fitting in with your new team – every business has its own language, culture, tools for the job, systems and processes, even knowing the dress code, how you answer the phone and your team’s tea and coffee preferences are key to settling in.

When I started at Kinetic I expected a certain amount of pain, although I have a lot of transferable skills and a wealth of experience, I have never worked in a PR environment.

After my initial few days of sitting in on meetings and attempting to complete simple tasks, it became clear that there was an enormous amount of information I needed to learn. It was like being asked to complete homework when you haven’t attended the lesson. I confided in a friend that I felt like I was drowning, and, luckily for me, she understands the process of learning in great depth. She alleviated my uncertainty, reassuring me “you don’t yet know what you don’t know” and referred me to the 4 Stages of Learning model.

The 4 stages of Competence Model

The 4 Stages of Learning Model was originally created by Martin M. Broadwell, it “suggests that individuals are initially unaware of how little they know, or unconscious of their incompetence. As they recognize their incompetence, they consciously acquire a skill, then consciously use it. Eventually, the skill can be utilized without it being consciously thought through: the individual is said to have then acquired unconscious competence.” (Flower J (1999). “In the Mush”. Physician Executive)

It is clear that to step into Conscious Incompetence, I need to learn and explore what I don’t know and then develop a training plan that walks me through, step by step, the world of public relations and corporate communications.

My first port of call is LinkedIn Learning. It offers unlimited access and a wealth of material delivered by expert instructors at times to suit my schedule – it is a perfect solution to my needs.

This week I have started my Public Relations Foundation Course and learnt about how PR has evolved, an eight-step workflow for professional PR and the evolution of telling a story.

When I’m feeling stretched, I take comfort from where I add value in my new role:  getting clients to structure their website so it’s immediately clear to visitors how to navigate it.  Helping them with content – web, social, editorial – which drives traffic, increases time on their websites and ultimately, conversion.

That’s why they call it the comfort zone.

A ship is safe in harbour but that’s not what ships are built for.


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