There’s something almost magical about being in the presence of a true craft master. Their level of caring and sensibilities goes so far beyond unconscious competence that it makes all around them feel different. Most of the time, you don’t need them. But they can make the difference between doing OK and excelling in your core focus area whether it’s innovation, production, delivery, or service.

Home inspector Brad Beyer is an undisputable master of his craft. He’s obviously a true expert at what he does – so much so that he makes it look easy. Accompanying him on one of his home inspections, I felt like I was getting a masterclass in the inner workings of a house from someone who greatly enjoyed what they were doing. His enthusiasm was contagious. At the same time, he was checking every box and paying attention to every detail – and getting the report out before he went to sleep so the buyer could move forward quickly.

This requires:

Innate talent in being able to see beneath the surface. Where others see dust, Beyer sees where the dust came from.

Learned knowledge. Beyer put in and continues to put in the hours required to be up-to-date on the latest materials, equipment, tools, techniques, and systems that go into a house whether it’s foundational, framing, roofing, siding, electrical, plumbing, HVAC or anything at all.

Practiced skills. Beyer practiced by taking things apart and putting them back together, by looking at things in different ways, by trying things out. He continues to hone his skills.

Hard-won experience. Beyer has inspected over 20,000 homes over the past 35 years. He’s seen it all. He’s made every mistake in the book. He’s missed things. The experience is key to bringing his innate talent to bear.

Craft-level caring and sensibilities. There is an artistry to what Beyer does. I’ve never seen someone get so excited about a foundation pour, a fuse box, plumb door frames, operating-room clean heating systems, extra warning alarms, a new roof, finding the two little leaks after running all the water from every water spout in the house for 30 minutes.

Conscious Competence Framework

The basic conscious competence framework suggests you move from


  • Unconsciously incompetent and not caring about like an infant being driven around it to
  • Consciously incompetent and feeling bad about your shortcomings like a 12-year-old hungering for the freedom of being able to drive themselves to
  • Consciously competent like a newly licensed driver who can do things, but must think about every step along the way to
  • Unconsciously competent like an experienced driver.


The frameworkstops there. The next level up is like race-car champions who are back in touch with every step along the way, not because they have to, but because they’re always looking for the extra edge that could be the difference between winning and anything else.

Implications for you

In the vast majority of cases, all you need from your team members is unconscious competence. They can build those strengths on their innate talent with learned knowledge, practiced skills and hard-won experience. You can win in the market by applying those people and supporting them with resources to exploit market opportunities.

In some cases, have a craft master leading your focus area can inspire others to new heights:


  • A master innovator can lead the way to out innovating all your current and potential competitors.
  • A master producer or operator can lead the way to your making craft-level products far superior to anyone else’s and/or at dramatically advantaged costs.
  • A master distributor can pull together a distribution network that enables you to get things to your customers faster, better and less expensively than anyone else.
  • A master at customer service can lead all their colleagues to make your customers feel personally welcomed, cared for, appreciated and special.


70-year-old home inspector Brad Beyer, doesn’t show up to inspect houses. He’s there to help his customers avoid buying the wrong house, feel more confident about the right house, and be even better prepared to turn that house into a home.

What are your most important people showing up to do?

Click here for a list of my Forbes articles (of which this is #805) and a summary of my book on executive onboarding: The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan.

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