I recently sent a note to a leader who wants to make sure his team is well-equipped for the future. His company does a great job exploring best practices and even has its own Organizational Development team, yet he's concerned that great knowledge is necessary yet insufficient to get the results he and his team need.
Ever heard of the 'Knowing-Doing gap'? Just knowing something – even how to do it – is simply not enough to change behavior. The greatest current example I can think of is: While billions of diet books have been sold over the last decade, in many U.S. states, more than 1/3 of all the adults and children are clinically obese. In some states it’s approaching half of the population.
One of the reasons Trebuchet Group exists as a company is to close the Knowing-Doing Gap by providing support for implementation. Here are three reasons we believe implementation support makes a difference to improvement efforts.
- Maintains focus among other pressing priorities – Organizational improvement is critically important, yet is the easiest thing to stop doing. Helping the business leaders stay focused working on the business when they have intense pressure to work in the business can mean the difference between success and failure of an improvement effort.
- Allows for adjustment as the project is implemented – Even the most brilliant plan can get waylaid by an assumption that was incorrect, a change in business conditions, or an unexpected response to the effort. If airlines ran like most change efforts, almost no planes would make it to their destinations – at the first or second problem with the plane, pilots would turn around and head back to the airport they just left.
- Enables a deeper level of commitment – Just as individuals are more likely to exercise when they have a workout plan and commit to working with a personal trainer, business teams that enlist ongoing help go beyond good ideas to actually put those ideas into action.
Of course, none of this is guaranteed. There are many efforts that fail even with implementation support - and I would bet that most of them weren't able to achieve these three items above.