The Four Stages of Competence is a learning model attributed to Noel Burch at Gordon Training International in the early 70's. The basic premise is that as a person attempts to learn a new skill, they progress through each of the four stages prior to attaining some level of mastery of the skill. I first encountered this model in a sales training class for a marketing company I worked for in the late 80's and I remember thinking it had a pretty strong correlation to the level of awareness our prospect base had of the services and solutions we offered. That awareness, or lack thereof, extended to prospects' ability to objectively assess the root causes that made them solid candidates for our services.
Everyone has that local restaurant which serves up a whopping, all-you-can-eat buffet that, at or about the mid-way point of the meal, causes you to seriously reconsider the load you put on your plate. I'm talking about that button-popping, bench-splitting fully satiated point where even though your eyes are seriously scanning the dessert section your brain and stomach are in four-alarm overload mode. I think we've all been there at some point in our lives.
We've all heard about the 80/20 rule at some point in our lives. Officially, it's known as the Pareto principle, named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who observed in the early 1900's that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.
I’ve had the good fortune of primarily working with larger clients with the budget and support staff that allow them to experiment with their marketing in a way that elevates long-term success. Recently, I ‘ve been spending a fair amount of time with smaller businesses and a picture is quickly emerging - and it’s one that causes me no small level of angst. The picture is of a sizable digital divide between the haves and have-nots, the enlightened and the uninformed, the successful practitioners and the frustrated masses.