I recently started reading the book, The Knowing Doing Gap, How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action by Jeffrey Pfeffer (Professor of Organizational Behavior, Stanford) and Robert Sutton (Professor of Management science, Stanford).
I’ve been a long-time follower of Bob Sutton’s blog, and it was about time I picked up one of his books to read. To my way of thinking, Bob has some fairly sensible advice for working with people, and I’d suggest you take a moment to hear what he has to say.
From the Preface:
“But once something was clearly not working [while writing the book], we abandoned the path quickly, stopping just long enough to figure out what we should learn before trying something new. We never stopped to worry about how much time we had wasted and never spent one minute talking about which one of us was to blame for the last dead end. Rather we were inspired by the successful firms we studied, in which setbacks and mistakes were viewed as an inevitable, even desirable, part of being action oriented. We heeded their advice that the only true failure was to stop trying new things and to stop learning from the last effort to turn knowledge into action.”
Great advice for being action oriented — from the preface, no less!
- Recognize that something isn’t working. (This is often easier said than done.)
- Abandon that path quickly.
- Figure out what to learn from the last effort, and try something new.
- Don’t worry about wasted time, nor assigning blame.
- View setbacks and mistakes as desirable.
- The worst thing you can do is to stop trying new things.
My questions to you are: When did you last fail in front of your whole team (maybe even your whole company)? What did you learn? What are you trying now?
Can’t wait to read the rest of the book!