I like to finish things. Get “Done”. Some might say I’m impatient to finish things. But not everybody is like that. Many people suffer from the various Pseudo-action Deceptions, i.e. thinking rather than doing.
Pfeffer and Sutton (2000) identified factors that contribute to the Knowing-Doing Gap. This is where somebody knows what needs doing but hasn’t actually done anything. The Pseudo-action Deceptions particularly resonated with me as I’ve seen countless people demonstrate these behaviours, or lack of behaviours, and I find it very annoying.
- Thinking that knowing is sufficient for success.
- Thinking that talking (meetings, committees, reports, etc.) is action.
- Thinking that measuring things is action or contributes to performance.
- Thinking that making a decision is the same as taking action.
- Thinking that planning is the same as action.
Thinking is not doing. Thinking is useful but only so far as it helps get to “Done”.
Pfeffer, J. and Sutton, R. (2000). The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publications.