I first learned about The Knowing-Doing Gap circa 2002 when I first read Jeffrey Pfeffer’s amazing book: “The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action.” The Knowing-Doing Gap is one of those things that all of us knows exist, but most of us didn’t know had a name. It’s easily summed up as “that thing you know you should be doing, but aren’t.”
We know we have to watch our diet and exercise to lose weight…
We know we have to write a chapter a week in our book to stay on schedule…
We know that we have to start saving money to retire one day…
But we don’t do any of this. We know what we need to do but we refuse to take action-oriented steps to get there.
What’s holding us back?
The answer is much harder than the question. Depending on the person, it could be any number of things. Financial constraint, time constraint (rather real or imagined), lack of knowledge, or probably the most common problem of all – fear. Humans are pre-wired to be afraid of failure. While this probably saves us in some areas, it certainly holds us back in others.
Here’s what you’ll do differently in 2013.
It sounds simple but in reality… it really is simple.
Most of us fall into a pattern of researching and tinkering with our plan as a way staying in the safe zone. Essentially we’re fooling ourselves into believing that we’re working toward something when in reality none of the work we’re doing is getting us any closer to our goal. We’re basically walking on a treadmill. It’s busy work and we certainly aren’t going to be successful by working for the sake of working.
Make a list of everything that your business has to do to succeed. For example:
- Create a website.
- Order business cards.
- Find an office space.
- Buy office furniture.
- Hire employees.
- Set up meetings.
- Close sales.
Obviously there are probably dozens of things that would go on this list. What I want you to try doing is prioritizing them from most to least important in terms of making money. In this list “Close sales” would obviously be number one, while “Buy office furniture” would have to go at or near the bottom of the list. Try this for your business and you may see a shift in the way you get things done.
While you’re taking action, remind yourself:
It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect
We fool ourselves into believing that everything has to be perfect before taking action. Websites, logos, business cards and even your office space are all things that we obsess over and – while important – none of them mean as much as cash-creation. Money moves business and you aren’t moving anywhere until you start making it. Deal with the slight imperfections and just get started. The small problems will still be there for you to address later.
You’ll Never Know Everything
Another common way we unknowingly procrastinate is by researching every possible scenario that could go right, or wrong, with our business. You’ll get closer to your goals once you realize that you’ll never know all you need to know about your business. Successful business owners are constantly learning, evolving and changing their goals accordingly. Why bother knowing everything when a working knowledge will do? You’ll obviously have to know more than your potential clients, but you don’t have to be the foremost authority on your business.
A shift in focus is normally all you’ll need to get out of the trap that is The Knowing-Doing Gap. Make 2013 your best year ever by refocusing your attention to the things that matter while spending less time on those that don’t. I think you’ll find an imperfect website generating sales is better than a perfect website that took six months longer to create. Get to it!