Strategy

17th July 2014

On Knowing by Ian Kinnery

I talk a lot about the importance of knowledge; the importance of knowing.

One of my favourite sayings comes from one of my coaches, Keith Cunningham, whose mantra is “What you don’t know is more important than what you do know because it is what you don’t know that costs you money”

One of the most compelling arguments for having a coach is the fact that “We don’t know what we don’t know”. Everything that the brain knows comes from inside of itself and therefore it takes additional influence from outside in order to give rise to new, fresh and different ideas and connections.

So in my world of business improvement, of growing the business leader to grow the business, the concept of knowing has a position of primacy.

When I really think about it though, it isn’t really all about knowing.

In the way the English language has of providing a rich palette of subtle variances, the verb to “know” has many shades of meaning, which can range from “having the intellectual knowledge of” to “performing at this level insistently, consistently and persistently”, and beyond.

It isn’t knowledge that is the difference that makes the difference. It is knowledge plus action. Knowledge in and of itself won’t make the difference, but knowledge and execution might, and the best level of knowing plus faultless execution undoubtedly will.

There is a saying that “to know and not to do is not yet to know” and this is a huge concept. Knowing how to lead, for example, does not mean that he or she can and does lead.

There is often a trap here where people get stuck. We can get stuck in the gap between knowing and doing. “I know about that” or even “I know how to do that” can be a long way from “I am doing that”, and “I am doing that, insistently, consistently and persistently and to a high level which is always improving” and provides a comfort zone which will suck us in and let us languor in mediocrity unless we have feedback systems to get us out of that place of complacency.

When you reflect on this what are those areas where “to know and not to do is not yet to know” applies to you?