Most people have a tendency to want to learn something new and then apply it to their work, education or daily lives. The operative words here are ‘want to’. Because very often, even with the best of intentions, you don’t apply, or practice, what you have learned and now know. And this is known as the ‘knowing-doing gap’.
So what causes the knowing-doing gap? And how does it manifest itself? And most important, where does this process begin?
For starters, let’s assume you have learned something new either at a workshop, a conference, on the net or from a book. Now that you ‘know’, do you act upon it? Or does the knowledge just get relegated to the recesses at the back of your mind, never to be unearthed again?
You may find a number of reasons (basically excuses) for not ‘doing’ or acting upon what you ‘know’, including:
- I really don’t have the time for this.
- This doesn’t really work for me.
- I just can’t do it.
It may be a good idea to reflect upon what is actually hampering the process of ‘doing’ in spite of being in the ‘know’. You may find:
- It is easier to talk than to actually ‘do’.
- It involves creating change, which is difficult to do.
- Fear gets in the way of action.
- It is easier to do things the way they were always done.
To begin the process of closing the gap between ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ requires a few critical steps. Key among these include:
- Acknowledging the obstacles created by past experiences and how to overcome them.
- Rewarding ‘doing’ i.e. action, and not ‘discussion’ i.e. inaction.
- Teaching the importance of prioritizing – acting upon what one knows, one at a time.
Hence, recognizing excuses for what they are and acknowledging the obstacles, help in implementing strategies that can close the ‘knowing-doing’ gap.