Readiness + Challenge + Support = Success.
We’ve known there exists an optimal balance to obtain the result of the above equation since Nevitt Sanford first proposed his theory in the 1960s.
Although this theory is primarily applied to students, I often see individuals struggle (and sometimes fail) to complete a task or project when there are people, areas, or resources that could offer support. I also see areas willing to help and support activity across campus, but that are not utilized.
While it seems we must be missing something if people struggle with a task and do not utilize available resources, there can be a number of reasons why this might occur.
One reason could be the Dunning-Kruger effect, which describes people’s ability to believe they are more competent than they truly are. This is typically the result of ignorance and not ego; people may not know what proficiency in a given area looks like or may not receive appropriate constructive feedback from others or their environment.
Another reason why this occurs is that people might be trying to demonstrate their abilities.
This could be to impress their boss, colleagues, or even just to prove perseverance to themselves. While such an approach could yield task completion, it may still be frowned upon due to lack of efficiency, lack of collaboration, or ineffective use of available resources and supports.
To that point, the reason people might not utilize other resources could be they are not aware of other people or resources aligned with their efforts or serving in a capacity to offer assistance.
This is not a rare situation.
Where institutional alignment of strategy and operations does not exist or is not clearly and regularly communicated, it’s easy to lose sight of what other areas are doing or how their work may align with your own. Additionally, people can be improperly onboarded to their area or institution and simply unaware other areas, people, or services exist.