Are you CPR certified? If someone needed CPR right now, would you know what to do? If so, awesome! But if you’re like most of us who are CPR certified, it’s strange that despite being “certified”, we probably couldn’t do CPR correctly. That’s because we’ve equated competency with a checkbox. But competency is much more than that.
Here at CrossBraining, we often talk about the Competency Triangle. For us, the Competency Triangle is a framework for knowing if someone is truly competent at a task. Its three sides are:
- Being able to do
- Being able to explain
- Understanding why
Watching someone do a task is by far the best way to know if someone is skilled at it. This could be by watching them in-person, watching a video, or looking at their work product. How could we ever know that someone can do CPR if we’ve never seen them do it?
But competency doesn’t stop there. Learners have to be able to explain what they are doing. This not only helps them learn the skill, it improves retention and performance.
Last, trainees need to understand the why. The “why” could be how their work affects product quality, or how it makes a production line more efficient. In any case, a learner who doesn’t understand the “why” behind their learning has no incentive to learn it.
So the next time you ask yourself if your employees are competent, don’t count their certificates. Instead, ask them to prove it.