What do you believe is the single most important thing that will affect your productivity? Time management? Software tools? Calendars? ToDo Lists? No. The most important thing that will affect your productivity is your expertise.
Knowledge is the baseline for almost all work that we do in today’s information economy. We simply cannot produce good information products without the knowledge to do it. And gaining the knowledge as you go is akin to assembling the tractor before you can use it to plow the field. To be maximally effective you should strive to have the knowledge for how to do what you need to do.
There are two aspects to knowledge that can be looked at as it pertains to your productivity.
- Relevance – The more relevant your knowledge is to the task at hand the more efficient you will be
- Competence – how easily you can apply your knowledge.
When you have relevant knowledge and have competence with it then you have an expertise that allows you to be productive at a much higher rate.
The four stages of competency will give you a sense of how effective you knowledge is towards your productivity. Simply having the knowledge is not enough to being extremely productive.
- Unconscious incompetence – you do not know how to do something and haven’t yet recognized that
- Conscious incompetence – you realize that you don’t know something
- Conscious competence – you have the knowledge but it requires concentration to execute
- Unconscious competence– through extensive practice your skills have become second nature and can be performed without effort
It has been said that the best programmers are 10,000x more productive than an average programmer. While this claim is outlandish it exemplifies that people with experience hiring programmers see as truth. The right programmer with expertise can implement quickly while the wrong programmer may not even recognize that they don’t have the knowledge required to do so. In the worst cases incompetence is a liability – incorrect knowledge applied incorrectly can pose a significant threat to your business.