A professor Jeffrey Pfeffer from Stanford B-School asks a question: If we are so smart, why can’t we get anything done?
These days if not hundreds but thousands of books written on business and strategies of success in businesses. Many top organizations spend millions on training and development of employees. On top of that, thousands of MBA or equivalent degree holders join the market and businesses. These students presumably have been taught the skills that they need to improve the way that companies do business.
It looks pretty, but it leaves us with a worrying question: Why can’t we get anything done? This question has made researchers find answers. If we are so well trained and so well informed, then why aren’t we a lot more effective? Why is it that, at the end of so many books and seminars, leaders report being enlightened, pumped up and skilled but not much happens in their organization?
To answer that question, here is what Jeffrey Pfeffer, the professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He offers rules that explain why, despite so much knowing, there is so little doing and what you can do to get something done in your company.
1. Doing Something requires..doing something
Companies gather knowledge from everywhere. People do a lot of brainstorming inside the boardroom. It’s important to know, but it’s so much important to implement what we know.
The reason why we’ve fallen into this knowing-doing gap is this: Doing something actually requires doing something! It means tackling the hard work of making something happen. It’s much easier and much safer to sit around and have intellectual conversations, to gather large databases, to invest in technical infrastructure and never actually implement anything
There is a lot going on in terms of strategies and planning, but it turns out that they don’t actualize what they visualize.
The most successful companies create ideas or dreams and they make work on that idea see it as a reality.
2. Doer Vs Talkers
Today, there are experts on everything except how to get things done. And we reward that expertise- in the corporate world, in schools and at the job market. People get hired on the basis of ideas and knowledge they possess, but not for results. Even in many (not all) schools, teachers are getting hired on the basis of degrees but not on the basis of teaching and coaching skill teachers must possess in order to spread knowledge appropriately.
The educational establishment must take some responsibility for this problem. Think about what business schools do: They train people to talk about ideas. But the one thing that business schools don’t do is train students to do anything.
Ask yourself this question: would you undergo heart surgery if the surgeon had been trained, in the same way, that business-school students are trained? Imagine that the surgeon had sat around in medical school discussing heart-surgery videos and listening to great heart surgeons talk about what they did- and now you are lying on the operating table as a patient of that surgeon. Would you actually let that surgeon cut you open? I don’t think so!
3. Doing Means Learning. Learning means mistakes.
If companies genuinely want to move from knowing to doing, they need to build a forgiveness framework- a tolerance for error and failure.- into their culture. A company that wants you to come up with a smart idea, implement that idea quickly and learn in the process has to be willing to cut you some slack. You need to be able to try things, even if you think that you might fail.
The absolute opposite mindset is one that appears to be enjoying a lot of favor at the moment: the notion that we have to hold people accountable for their performance. Companies today are holding their employees accountable- not only for trying and learning new things, but also for the results of their actions.
Now, ask yourself: If you are going to be held accountable for every mistake that you make, how many chances are you going to take? How eager are you going to be to convert your ideas into actions?
4. Have No Fear
One of the most pervasive emotions in the American workplace, today is fear. The reason that there is so much fear is that everybody wants to build a learning organization, but nobody actually wants anyone to learn. Learning requires tolerating people who make mistakes. Learning requires tolerating inefficiency. Learning requires tolerating failure. Learning requires letting people try things that they have never done before, things that they probably won’t be very good at the first time around.
Look at a company like AES corp.: It’s completely out of control! At AES, people are doing things that they have never done before, trying things that are beyond their existing abilities. Now, either you can ask, “How can they do that?” or you can ask, “Why doesn’t everybody do that?”. The only way that people can learn is by doing things that they’ve never done before. If we do only what we already know how to do, then we won’t ever learn anything new.
5. Learning comes at a price. Pay it.
The truth is that there is no easy way to encourage people to learn. You have to accept the fact that there is always going to be a trade-off between proficiency and learning. Learners are never as proficient as experts. So learning comes at a price. The price is that experts might not get to use their expertise and that the learners might make mistakes.
Go back to AES. At AES, everyone thinks like a business person, and thousands of people are able to do lots of different things. But the company pays a price for that- and the price that it pays is the cost of all of that learning. If you genuinely want to build a learning organization, you have to be prepared to make the necessary trade-offs and to pay the price.
That’s it for now…..
To Your Enlightened success.
(Courtesy: Many thanks to Alan M. Webber- Founding editor or Fast Company and Jeffrey Pfeffer from Standford University for publishing this research.)Mayur Bardolia Success & Happiness Coach / Inspirational Speaker Genius Generator / International NLP Trainer Call: 0091 97370 46050 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Skype : Mayur Bardolia Copyright © Mayur Bardolia 2015
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