Taking action on what you know to do is clearly the number one barrier to success in your business. The gap between knowledge and action is much larger than the gap between ignorance and knowledge. Most people fail to reach their goals (whether revenue, customer service or employee retention), not because they don’t know what to do, but because they don’t do what they know. Knowledge is worthless without action.
Here’s an example: you know how to lose weight. Information on nutrition, exercise and living a healthy lifestyle is readily available in books, magazines and on the internet. There are entire television networks dedicated to supplying you all the information you need to stay fit and trim. But if you don’t get off the couch and implement what you know, you might as well kick it all to the curb and be happy with your high blood pressure.
I work with managers to improve communication and reduce conflict in the workplace so that everyone can stay focused on their job. The process we go through is two-fold. First, we experience a process of self discovery; learning that other people quite often don’t see us as we see ourselves. We then go through a learning process that teaches us how to communicate and relate with people that are not like us. The end result is that they become far more effective with different types of people than they have ever been before. They then apply these new skills in multiple directions including sales, employee relations, customer relations, etc.
I recently had a workshop participant who told me how much he enjoyed the training day. I quickly corrected him and explained that the 7 hour workshop was not training – it was learning. Training begins when you apply what you have learned on a daily basis. Athletes don’t become great by reading books and attending seminars. They become top of their field by taking what they have learned and practicing.
Find an area of your work that you need to improve and then choose three small activities per day that will move you toward your goal. It does not matter how small the activities even are. Even if you only spend 5-10 minutes per day in practicing a new skill, you will be dramatically better off one year from now. That’s closing the gap.
For an easy to print copy of this article for use in meetings or trainings, click here.