People are smart. Not all of us all the time, certainly not me. But by and large, people are smart. This seems odd when considering that we frequently encounter less-than-desirable situations that often have endured for a long time.
But people often know what could be done to improve even such long-lasting situations — this knowledge just isn’t put into action. Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton discuss this phenomenon in their book The knowing-doing gap: how smart companies turn knowledge into action and in a related article.
From this perspective, it becomes obvious that addressing such less-than-desirable situations as a knowing problem is unlikely to be effective — the people affected likely have all the knowledge required to improve the situation. Addressing such situations as a doing problem, i.e. working with people to put their knowledge into action, seems likely to be much more effective…but only if the people affected think a problem exist, want to do something about it, and want (my) help in doing so.
Now putting the knowledge in this post into my actions would be a big step toward closing one of my major knowing-doing gaps.