Knowing What to Do and Knowing How to Do It are Two Entirely Different Things

I know a lot about sales. I’ve been doing it for years. I have enough information about selling, sales leadership, coaching, negotiation, client interaction, sales process and more to write a book. I’ve put a number of book ideas through my brain. I know what a book contains. I know what it looks like. I know how good ones read.  Books aren’t foreign to me.  However, if and when the time comes, I won’t write it by myself.  I will get someone who knows how to actually write a book to help me. Why?  Because, I don’t know HOW to write a book and I know it. I can learn. It might be good for me to learn, but currently I don’t know how and knowing that is a good thing.

Knowing what to do and knowing how to do something are two entirely different things.  Knowing what to do requires only a high-level understanding of the environment, the tasks and the information. It doesn’t take much to know what it takes to manage a sales team, be CEO, run a professional sports franchise, implement a new commission plan, or develop a new sales process.  Knowing what to do is the easy part.  It get’s hard in knowing HOW to do these things.

Recognizing that knowing how to do something takes a lot more information, time, patience, knowledge, experience, and resources is where the win is. Everyone has an idea. Everyone knows what to do. But not everyone knows how.

Successful sales people; sales managers, leaders, and start-up founders know that learning how to do something is far more important than learning what to do. My friend Seth Levine from the Foundry Group asked me a question I will never forget.  I needed a new developer and I knew it.  I knew what the problem was.  I knew what I needed to do. But, I didn’t know how to address it.  Seth asked me; “How are you going to solve for that?”  Brilliant!  What Seth was asking was, how am I going to do it?  How am I going to get a new developer?

It took me longer than I want to admit to figure it out.  I finally did and it made all the difference.

Success comes from knowing how to get things done, not from knowing what needs to be done.

How much of your day is spent learning how to do something?  Do you work on the things you know what to do or on those things you know HOW to do? — Execution matters.


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