Have you ever had such a thing that you thought for a long time about a work (or personal) situation, and then whoops! and everything seemed to be laid out on the shelves? We have this happened more than once.
Moreover, in some sense, this is our profession – to sort out difficult situations on the shelves. Because for the past 12 years, my colleagues and I have been training IT specialists and managers in people management skills and what is called soft skills.
During our work, we have accumulated a large number of tools that we use to solve various management cases. And we decided to share these tools.
First, because the tools are useful. Secondly, I want to collect them all in one place, so that later everyone can be sent there. Thirdly, we clearly understand that we are limited by our own context, and we will be very grateful if you will complement us. Fourth, we don’t really believe in advertising. We believe in simple things – that if we do something useful for people, then people will recommend us. Why not write some helpful articles then?
All the tools that we will write about are very simple. Either these are 2 by 2 matrices, or 4 questions, or something in the same spirit. So far as we work a lot with managers, we found that 3 by 3 matrices are already difficult for some managers to perceive (hey, we ourselves were managers, we know what we are talking about :)), and 2 by 2 matrices are just right, they are perfect.
We came up with some tools ourselves, some of them we borrowed from other smart people, and some tools just came in our head from somewhere. But they are all useful, yes.
Are these instruments silver bullets? Clear as a bell, no. But they definitely help to clarify the situation, bring out the distinctions and understand which way to think. And you still have to come up with solutions. Until, at last, there is a handbook on management.
So, enough extra words, let’s move on to the first tool:
𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐜𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐱
This 2 by 2 matrix shows:
• How does the training on some skill of an adult person go?
• Where do some work conflicts come from?
• How to convey your point of view when you have a gut feeling that your opponent is wrong
• What to do if you explain something to a person, but he still disagrees and / or doesn’t understand
Imagine hiring a student with no work experience, but seemingly sensible. And now you give him the task to design the architecture of some module of your system. “No problem, as easy as pie” – says the student and leaves. In which square of the matrix is he located?
Perhaps, square A. The person has no work experience, he is superficially familiar with your system, whether he has done tasks of a similar type – most likely not. At the same time, his phrase “as easy as pie” suggests that a person doesn’t understand the full depth of the task given to him. And this state is called:
𝐀 – 𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐜𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞
A person tries to do something, he fails. The architecture turns out to be bad, it doesn’t withstand the load, it’s not expandable at all, it doesn’t correspond to the SOLID principles, and what else happens with architectures?
What is the student thinking at this moment? If he is more persistent than inclined to self-reflection, then he thinks: “I’ll try again.” On the fifth time, when he fails again, the student begins to suspect something. That, probably, humanity has already accumulated some knowledge about architectures, because a specific representative of humanity, Vasya from the next department does it quickly and the first time.
At this moment, the person mystically moves into the state:
𝐁 – 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐜𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞
In this state, the very necessary question “How?” appears in a person’s head. And he goes to Google, to a seminar or conference, buys books, or buys a beer to a more experienced colleague. And sooner or later (if a person is educable, of course) he succeeds in making his first successful architecture. And that means that he went into the state:
𝐂 – 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐜𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞
Do you drive? Remember the first time you started on it. Most likely, you were in control of your every action:
Turn on left turn signal
Look at the mirror
Hear what the instructor mutters
Release one pedal smoothly while pressing the other
Lo and behold, a ton of metal has moved from its place! Before that it stood still, but now it has shifted – mysticism!
When you can do something right, but do it slowly and in control of your every step, this is a state of conscious competence.
If you continue to practice the skill, then over time you will move into the state:
𝐃 – 𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐜𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞
If you ask an experienced driver in the middle of the road: “Tell me, please, why are you driving in 3rd gear and in 2nd lane now,” he sometimes gets scared: “Who is here?” and won’t always be able to explain.
He drives the car on an automatic (internal automatic, not on an automatic transmission). The skill was fully automated. So much so that a person can easily do something else while driving.
Where do work conflicts come from? Some work conflicts can be explained by this very matrix.
At one of our reports, an experienced guy (about 45 years old) got up and shared his situation:
“I am the chief architect at the company. A student brings his architecture to me. I look at it and understand that it is bad. But I already forgot why. How can I explain to a student that he is wrong?”
If there are no facts, but you want to convince a person, then “authority”, “best practices” and other corporate ships are used that furrows something:
“I have SEVEN YEARS OF EXPERIENCE in architecture, I tell you. that IT IS CROOKED! What’s not clear?”
What is the young student thinking at this moment? Something like this:
Well, obviously, the age … Ours is already completely out of touch with reality …
The chief architect is also unhappy with the student: why don’t they listen to me, although I’m so experienced? …
A natural question arises:
What to do? The answer is not as simple as it might seem. Obviously, an experienced architect needs to either go back to square C himself, or find someone who can explain with facts about architecture.
And besides, the student needs to raise the level of consciousness. Either letting him take knocks, or sending him in for a good training, or using various techniques, such as checking the solution for stability. But for the latter, you still need to remember the facts.
A question to think about. What squares do you think people are in when they come to any training?
In the next article we will talk about another 2×2 matrix “Interest – Competence”, which briefly and succinctly shows what happens to a person at work.
P.S. Friends, if you think that the idea with articles about such tools is worthwhile and useful, then somehow mark it in the comments. For us, this will be a clear sign that we must continue.
P.P.S. If you have your own example, when there were conflicts explained by this matrix – share and tell us how you managed to resolve the situation. Your experience will be definitely interesting to us.