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  • Ian Gregory

KNOWING IS NOT DOING: Education Isn't Enough


We love smart don’t we? If you dress well (look smart), toss out all the latest buzzwords (sound smart), and show people all your degrees and certificates (seem smart), you are going to have a much better chance of that promotion, because in this information age, smart sells. But that smart is the “knowing” and it isn’t enough. Anyone have a boss that talks the talk but can’t walk the walk? When we consult with organizations for upcoming promotions, we stress the importance of the “doing” smart. What projects has the candidate actually completed, how do they promote positive relationships, what is their experience in growing individuals and teams, have they ever tried to change and improve any processes within the organization or at their last job? Those are the types of questions that will quickly separate the knowers from the doers and allow your organization to promote people who will give you an edge in today’s ultra-competitive business arena. Am I slamming education? Absolutely not! Education is the foundation, it is the basis on which you can build and sustain excellence, but it is only the first step. YOU MUST DO! You have to take action and put that knowledge to practical use. The studies vary somewhat, but all agree on one point, if six months pass and there is still no practical application, you wasted that education. So what stops organizations from converting the knowing into doing? If you dig a little deeper, I think you’ll find that it is actually less of a knowing vs doing problem and it’s more of a culture vs values problem. While organizations, on the surface, will say how important education is and how they are interested in progressing and growing their employees (values), they also are about the bottom line of making money and have traditions in place and ways of doing business to achieve that goal (culture). So think about it, an employee goes to class and learns that there may be better ways to increase the bottom line and they come back refreshed and excited to help the company in a most positive way and the first thing they run into is “Oh we don’t do that here”. Then they realize that if they try to make any changes, they may very well be putting their job at risk because mistakes (which always happen when converting knowing into doing) are not tolerated very well at their organization. Combine that with progress usually has a cost associated with it, and also will take some time to implement, is it any wonder that when values meet culture head on, values usually takes a beating. At LIA, any class you take from us has work attached to it, because we realize that education isn’t enough and in order to grow, our participants must DO! Leaders, you must do the same. By all means, send your people to get education, obviously we support that, but have an end result in mind when they go. Send them knowing there will be a project to be completed when they return, a process to be improved upon or at the very least, a class where they have to teach others what they have learned, but I cannot emphasize this enough, THEY MUST DO!

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