One Pursuit that Trumps All Others

Energy without practical know-how is futility.

Persistent failure reflects lack of practical know-how. Most leaders don’t fail for lack of trying. 

If you’re persistently failing – in the same area – you lack practical know-how.

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Every meaningful achievement comes from practical know-how.

The leadership pursuit that trumps all others is the pursuit of practical know-how.

Five ways to gain practical know-how:

#1 Reflect on success. You learn far too little from your successes.

  • What did you do to achieve desired results?
  • Be careful to identify the actual affect that produced the desired effect. You may not know the real reason for your success. It takes smart work, not just hard work, to succeed.
  • Examine success by asking teammates what’s making things work.

#2. Try things and see how they work.

#3. Complete what you begin.

  • Perseverance is a great teacher when combined with reflection.
  • Quitting is the first step back to the same unsatisfying place.
  • Practical know-how is found when you begin again in new ways. Pick yourself up – don’t beat yourself up.

#4. Honor your potential by believing in your ignorance. People who don’t gain practical know-how, wrongly believe they already have it. Willful ignorance is a deadly blindspot that hampers arrogant leaders.

#5. Pursue excellence. How might you be even better? Don’t settle.

Bonus: Aggressively seek feedback.

Sharpen the saw before you cut down the tree.

Before practical know-how:

Humility precedes practical know-how.

The first enemy of gaining practical know-how is believing you have it, even though you’re persistently failing. The second enemy of gaining practical know-how is blaming others for your failure.

Without practical know-how, leaders waste energy, squander resources, and elevate frustration.

Many have titles, but real leaders possess practical know-how.

What prevents people from gaining practical know-how?

How might leaders gain practical know-how?

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