Ep38: When Knowledge Isn’t Enough

Have you ever been given information – fascinating information, even – that you almost immediately forgot? There was most likely a critical piece missing in your education on that topic – the stark difference between knowledge and knowing just enough.

And that is the subject of this episode.

Why is that important for business?

Generally speaking, people know the right thing to do. What they need is practice on how to do it. This is the difference between hearing something and knowing something. It can make all the difference to the culture and the operations of a company. Often we are given knowledge, but not made comfortable in the art of conveying that information or using it in practice.

When you hear something – even if you are amazed by that information – the brain is still in a relatively dormant state. If you introduce it into practice, however, then neurons start to fire, and the information begins to be coded in your brain.

In fact, if something is explained to you, 10 minutes after you will retain but 10%. But if there’s a story that you can place yourself in, or you interact with the information in some way – retention goes up to 60%.

How can you overcome this knowledge crisis?

Companies often go through a long process, and somehow stumble their way through a complex issue to get to a conclusion that is really well thought out. But then they want to tell everyone in the company their conclusion and expect people to catch on where their brain left off. The journey is important; it is critical to find ways to involve people along the way. Not including them doesn’t preclude their ideas or stop them from sticking their oar in after the fact, so you aren’t saving time by doing it yourself.

If, as a leader, you are frustrated that your people don’t think things through like you, you’re not alone. It’s because they don’t have a line of sight to the same things that you do. Play the mental video for them in slow motion. This lets them see all of the things that you’re thinking about. Only then they will start to see what you do and don’t see.

It’s important to not just know the right thing to do but, to equip people with the familiar ground of how to do it.

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