Barry Sweeny's Monthly Staff Development Tip


© 2004 Barry Sweeny - Posted 10/24/04

The development model that Barry uses most frequently is the Stages of Concern portion of the CBAM* Model. Barry says he has used it successfully in just about every employee improvement program you can imagine.

Below are the conceptual ideas that characterize people's concerns at each of the CBAM levels. Use these to design mentor or supervisor training activities.

1. AWARENESS - Concept = The learner is largely unaware of what is needed to successfully do an activity. Therefore, the learner is not even sure of all the questions that he/she might ask.

2. INFORMATION - Concept = The learner is aware of what needs to be learned, but does not have all the information needed to move to planning and doing the work.

3. PERSONAL - Concept = The learner has sufficient information and conceptual understanding of a task or skill and how it should be done. However, the learner has little or no experience in doing the activity. The learner is concerned with the implications of the information and the task for himself and his own work. Therefore, he is focused on learning what is expected of him and then, wants to plan what needs to be done to implement what he knows.

4. MANAGEMENT - Concept = The learner knows enough about a task, understands his own responsibilities for the activity, and has developed a plan for using his knowledge to do the activity. Now the work has started and the learner is focused on developing and mastering the skills needed to adequately do the work. At first, the focus is on just getting the work done. The process feels mechanical and takes the learnerís full attention for it to go correctly. As the learnerís skills at managing the task increase, the activity becomes more of a routine and the learner becomes more comfortable and confident doing the activity.

5. CONSEQUENCE - Concept = The learner has gained sufficient skill to do the activity at a competent level and so, has begun to shift attention to increasing the effectiveness of his work and achieving better results from the activity. The learner tries to do as much as he can on his own.

6. COLLABORATION - Concept = The learner has mastered a task to the point of establishing a routine that does not require full attention to execute it. Also, the desired results of the activity are acceptable. However, the results of the activity are not yet as high as is desired and the learner has done as much as he/she can to improve those results. Therefore, the learner seeks the advice of others to further improve results.

7. REFOCUSING - Concept = The learner has fully mastered a task or area of skill and is easily capable of doing the tasks successfully and producing a high level of results. Therefore, the learner is seeking and ready for a new task or area of responsibility.

* The CBAM is the Concerns-Based Adoption Model.

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