We are addicted to NOW. We heat our food in seconds. Dinner is ready in the time we spend in a drive-through. We get our television “on demand.” Any information we want is a Google click away.
When I was a kid, I’d eagerly search the morning newspaper to see if the Reds won the night before. Today, I can “watch” each pitch unfold on my computer as statistics are updated online in real time.
We’re addicted to NOW because we’ve grown accustomed to getting things NOW. Getting things NOW, however, does not just magically happen. That microwave that heats your food is the result of years of technology development, lessons from failed experiments, a manufacturing process and the time it took you to earn the money to afford it. Similar progressions took place to allow fast food meals and instant sports updates on your computer or mobile device. But we don’t see all of that, do we? All we see is the result, and the result comes NOW. We’ve got to have it NOW.
Business leaders are no different. CEOs know when things aren’t right. It’s their job to find things that need to be fixed in their organizations. Many times, their first step in a quest for improvement is training – for themselves, their executives, and their employees. Training is certainly a good start. However, training does not fix problems. It only exposes the problems and suggests ways to fix them. To actually fix them, you have to do something.
Many CEOs, executives and managers have certificates hanging on the wall from the training classes they’ve attended. Unfortunately, few are actually doing anything with the knowledge they’ve gained. You can’t just point to a certificate and expect anything to happen; you have to go through the steps – the hard work – of changing your habits and mastering the required skills.
Weight loss is a perfect illustration of this. Let’s say you want to lose ten pounds. You read the latest diet books and sign up for a weight loss class. You’re excited. You’re motivated. Two days later, you step on the scale, and you haven’t lost an ounce. The reason is simple. No book will take off weight. Only disciplined action will take off weight. You’ve got to change your habits. This takes work, and it never happens overnight, no matter what the smiling woman on television told you.
Knowledge is worthless unless it inspires action, and action is worthless unless it is sustained. The difference between knowledge and results is the “execution gap.” What are you doing to cross it?
If you are looking for practical ideas on how you can fill your “execution gap,” be sure to read the next blog post!