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Daily Leadership Thought #191 – Knowledge Without Action Is Just The Passage Of Time

August 10, 2011

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Knowledge is a gift that should keep on giving.

I have sat through many seminars and training courses with many leaders and one thing always sticks out: the most successful businesspeople I know don’t just listen to and absorb information, they act on it.  This does not mean they act on everything they hear, but when something resonates with them, they tend to move quickly to make changes.

Far too many of my colleagues and clients look at seminars and workshops as a one-time event, they don’t see it as an on-going and accountable commitment to their own professional development.  As a result, a great deal of useful information is lost to the demands of their busy schedule and their inability to sustain focus.  I have certainly been guilty of this myself.  When you spend money on training, you should expect a return on that investment, but the results will only happen if you apply what you’ve learned.

Knowledge without action is just the passage of time.   Life rewards those who continually strive to learn and get better at what they do.  Besides hard work, what often separates people who are highly successful from those who are moderately successful is the willingness to be proactive and do the work necessary to gain the skills and tools that will secure their future.   You should never assume that yesterday’s answers will solve the problems of today or tomorrow.   While it is true that a certain amount of wisdom comes from experience, this must always be balanced with a concerted effort to get smarter and more effective at what you do.

There is no shortage of resources when it comes to professional or personal development.   The internet has made this information accessible in ways previous generations could not have imagined.  It’s easy to find seminars or lectures that address topics of interest to you, but what matters most is what you do with the information.  A Harvard MBA is useless if you don’t properly leverage the experience while a community college degree can be invaluable if you make the most of it.

The next time you engage in a training opportunity I encourage you to walk away with 2-3 tangible action items that make sense to you and then ensure they happen.  Approach any learning opportunity with some idea of what you want to get out of it before you start.  Come prepared with a list of questions that you want to get answered.   Knowledge always resonates best when it is relevant.  When you develop these habits and sum up the activities over time, you will be amazed by what you will accomplish.