I recently attended a presentation by author Whitney Johnson, whose latest book Build an A Team includes a discussion around the 'learning S-curve'.
While not a new concept, it was one I hadn't come across before, and tracks a learner's journey from unfamiliarity to mastery.
The curve includes an initial phase, where progress is slow as we are inexperienced and spend time trying to gain traction in something new, looking to establish our competence and confidence.
Once we can gain this grounding however, learning accelerates through the middle section of the curve, as we experience a period of hypergrowth and high engagement in our role or task.
The curve then plateaus as we reach mastery, where the way we do things can become almost automatic.
The risk with this though is we become complacent, failing to keep up with the latest developments in our area of expertise, and possibly entering a phase of disengagement.
At this point it is important to move to the beginning of a new S-curve, which can involve a change in role, or even organisation, but can be as simple as broadening a skill set or adding an additional responsibility.
In your role and level of responsibility, where are you on the learning S-curve?
More importantly, where are your team members?
Are they starting a new role where they need support to establish some traction?
Are they in a period of high growth and engagement where they are consistently learning new things and taking on more responsibility?
Or have they reached a period of mastery, where you need to keep your eye out for complacency and help identify their next challenge?
Being able to establish where you and your team sit on the learning S-curve could be a valuable tool to help you build an A team.
Scott Douglas is the chief executive officer of SiDCOR Chartered Accountants