The Four Stages of Hotelier Competence
An Inspirational Guide to Continue Your Learning
By Larry Mogelonsky President & Founder, LMA Communications | September 01, 2013
Many months ago, I wrote an article discussing the great social psychologist Abraham Maslow and how his popular motivation theory of the 'Hierarchy of Needs' applies to hotels, guest expectations and everything in between. This pyramidal model of human behavior from the 1940s is widely recognized that it is still in use today – and rightfully so!
However, Maslow wasn't a one hit wonder, and he is often credited as one of the progenitors of another paradigm of behavioral psychology. Rising to prominence in the 1970s, the 'Four Stages of Competence' describes the pathology by which one acquires a new skill from the drudgeries of persistent failure to intact, reflexive action. Needless to say, this time-tested theory is rife with applications for hoteliers, primarily insofar as how we approach contemporary problems that face our properties and our industry.
The four stages, which we'll delve into in a minute, are unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence and, lastly, unconscious competence. Don't let the word 'incompetence' alienate you. What's remarkable about this learning model is that it is not designed to presuppose certain people as 'smarter' or 'better' than any other. As professionals, we are all a spectrum of learned skills with various character traits falling into each of the four labels. In short, nobody's perfect.
Hence, we can all still learn, master or perfect some aspect of our daily routines. The key is to accept the fact that you're not perfect then be open to both personal criticism and new experiences which might widen your perspective. The hospitality industry is so diverse and panoptic that there's always something new the world can teach you. With this in mind, let us begin our hotel-focused adaptation of this magnificent psychology theory.
1. Unconscious Incompetence - "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe"
I'd be remiss if I didn't insert at least one of my favorite Albert Einstein quotations to help get the ball rolling. However witty this great 20th century scientist was, he was also right about a lot of things, too – for one, blind ignorance abounds.