Blog: The Knowing Doing Gap

Many companies succeed! Many companies do not.

Most companies achieve at least some of their goals! The rest do not!

Since success is relative, even successful companies often do not attain their full potential.

Why is this true? Most company management personnel understand the theory and mechanics of management. Managing isn’t all that complicated, and new theories and techniques are written about constantly. With all this education and preparation, why don’t all companies have the best possible success? Why do companies with successful periods have to suffer through down periods? Why do companies manage to survive for years but never bust through that next revenue plateau to become big and profitable?

Through the years of my experience I’ve seen the phenomena that has baffled me at times where people know what to do but somehow can find ways not to do it. I finally found a good name for this from a book called The Knowing Doing Gap – by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton.

This is a danger from the inexperienced entrepreneur, because in many cases there is a lack of experience in building a company. But with their education and advisors it becomes clear what is needed to be done to be successful, however will it all be done. In my world as an angel investor and working with student entrepreneurs at local universities I find that the advice in can be overwhelming, from getting advice from board members, advisory boards and those that invest in them.

This is why it’s so important to try to focus on the mission of the company and the resources available. As I’ve stated, in some of my writing, advice and counseling can be very different. Advice in the form of motherhood is spitting out all the obvious things that need to be done, but counseling is advice that can be done within the system and with the resources available.

The answer to this problem is to the setting of priorities and the timing in making them happen. The priorities are aided by the mindset of the individual and team that comes from the proper mix of perception and perspective. Difficulty can come from trying to match the priorities with what needs to be done, so therefore timing also says the priorities, need to be reviewed and changed as needed, recognizing that every day with robust growth, the company has changed.

Planning, priorities, perspective and perception add up to focus, a key to successful management. Making a company work depends on the definition and implementation of priorities, and meaningful priorities depend on sound planning with accurate perceptions, and ensuring that all persons involved have the proper perspective 

Keep in mind it can be easier to find ways not to do something than to do something, and being disciplined, with accountability are the most important ways to help close the knowing doing gap.