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Saturday, November 14, 2009

What, How, Do

I've heard someone say, "I pretty much know everything about leadership. Oh, there might be one or two small things, but very, very little. I don't need those seminars. I don't need those books. I already know what to do. My problem is that I just don't do it."

On the surface, besides the arrogant nature of the comments, this person seems pretty dialed in on the whole leadership thing: lots of training, lots of exposure. Then the question is asked, "So, why don't you do it?" The answer might be, "Well, none of us is perfect, blah, blah, blah." Cop-out...

Could it be that there's a piece missing? Could it be that the reason the "expert" isn't doing what he or she knows, is that the person doesn't know HOW to translate the knowledge into action? Could it be that it's not:

Knowledge -->> Action
But, instead, it's:
Knowledge -->> Practice -->> Action?

Could it be that there's been no practice, or more likely, not enough practice (if there's such a thing as enough practice)? Does this example work?
I know what to do to fix a computer. I have the instructions right here. Still, I may not be an expert at fixing computers until I've practiced fixing them: breaking parts, frying components, and corrupting or erasing files until I've made enough mistakes and fixed more computers than I've broken on a regular basis.
Now, I'm picking on leadership folks right now, but perhaps this idea of practice could extend to any number of areas, like service, management, or coaching (Hey! These are the things I write about!).

The saying is "practice makes perfect" and since we can never be perfect, I guess that means we must endlessly practice. Of course, that may lead to another question of "If I'm not perfect, can I truly be an expert in my field?", but that's a topic for another time.

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