“The first and the best victory is to conquer self.” -Plato
What is it that creates the chasm between knowing and doing? If you’re reading this, than by any standard you’re an intelligent person. You can read and write. Why it is that we know so much, and do so little? Today, information is available to us at an alarming rate. We can learn tremendous amounts about our industry and organizations simply by bumping around on the internet or exploring online research portals. Communication tools have made it easier to share knowledge across an organization and technology has increased insight about future trends and current patterns. There’s an extreme amount of information being fed our way everyday. We know so much, but how much do we actually do?
Aristotle wrote, “when it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do”. There is a massive void between knowledge and action, or information and execution. We may know, but we do not act. Action requires focus and self discipline. There will be little action on knowledge until we are able to become disciplined, focused, and deliberate. As Jim Rohn said, “discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.” It is the piece that takes us from plan to execution and from knowledge to action. In our organizations, we are constantly taking in knowledge. We know of problems and opportunities – strengths being ignored and weakness being exploited. We see things that should be better and things that shouldn’t be. The amount of knowledge today is vast, greater than it ever has been before. Unfortunately, the amount of discipline is not increasing proportionately. Though we know so much, we do so little.
We operate in a economic environment these days that is incredibly unstable. Innovation is coming at an advancing rate, consumer trends seem to change on a dime, and small tribes of people are creating powerful and segmented markets. Organizations must be focused on watching and tracking these issues, but just as importantly they must be working in a disciplined manner. I’ve written before on the Thrive blog on the value of ideas versus execution. Today, more than ever, discipline will become increasingly important. We must work at making the link between knowledge and action. We cannot mistake knowing for doing. Great leaders need to work relentlessly to bridge the knowledge gap in their organizations, constantly making the link between information and action. Be disciplined in your pursuits. Focus on forward movement, implementation, and details. Leaders, work at providing opportunities to put knowledge into action.