Knowing and Doing Redux

years ago, I helped to create a professional legal training center. In the early days, we were nervous about this because it was entirely new. We thought we needed “experts” to tell us what would work best. Not only that, we thought we needed “experts” to teach and create learning materials. Overall, I was disappointed in what we got from these nice folks. The problem was not with their expertise. Often that was top notch. But the experts had a hard to relating to what our target group (lawyers, judges and prosecutors) were actually doing. There was a gap between knowing stuff and learning from what happens in the real world. To be honest, I had not anticipated it and only gradually adjusted our institutional development strategy to take this into account.

More recently, I have take the role of expert myself in communication training. I teach negotiation. So in a sense, I am on the other side of the bar, listening to what people do and trying to plug this into what I know. I am fortunate to have had the earlier experience about experts because I know that my expertise is not really what my students need. They need to know how to use knowledge to build better experiences.

I think there should be more widespread discussion of the gap between knowing and doing. And so I was glad to see Belle Beth Cooper’s article in Fast Company. It is directly on point and worth a close look. Creative thinking is about making connections. We should keep telling ourselves this.


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