The Knowing-Doing Gap
Stanford organizational behavior professors Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton expose an alarming gap between what senior managers know and what they do – and their book provides clear, worthwhile guidance for bridging that Knowing-Doing Gap.
Corporate culture too often prioritizes well-crafted presentations and “smart talking” above taking risky steps to implement new ideas. Leaders must act to overcome such cultural obstacles. Evaluation systems should emphasize long-term development over short-term goals and should give staffers the flexibility to improve procedures. Corporate culture should stamp out internal rivalries and nurture a team environment. A sound business tolerates uncertainty and occasional mistakes, in part because practical knowledge grows with experimentation and experience. Information technology systems often widen “the knowing-doing gap.” Data collection can fail to illuminate – or can even obscure – your firm’s values and culture. Information seldom translates into action because true knowledge comes from doing. Failing to execute on information is worse than not knowing it.