by Tony Vidler
A strange question to ask perhaps, but can a professional be both competent and incompetent simultaneously?
Of course they can.
As new regulatory standards are embedded everywhere for professional services a word which frequently springs up as measure of professionalism is “competence”. Advisers everywhere grasp the broad concept of competence, and accept the logic of needing to BE competent in their area of expertise. However, there is ongoing confusion for many about whether they are actually competent enough to be classed as competent by a regulator.
The are 5 levels of competence that you could use to describe the different levels of professional knowledge and skill
1. Ignorance (I know nothing and cannot advise)
2. Awareness (I am aware of issues associated with it, but not how to fix them)
3. Knowledgeable (I understand the issues and many of the solutions, but not all)
4. Competent (I have excellent working knowledge of issues & solutions and can help)
5. Expertise (I am an authority with deep technical understanding and will find the optimal solution)
It is entirely possible – in fact it is highly probable – that any professional will have ALL of these levels of expertise (including “ignorance”) in some area of their industry.
The key for professionals is to understand what level of competence they have in any particular area. For example, on my most optimistic self assessment I could not rate myself as anything better than having a level of “awareness” when it comes to currency trading/forex. Frankly, it would be downright dangerous to give me your Yen and ask me to begin trading in international currencies on your behalf….it will end in tears for everyone.