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‘Trying’ may be ‘Doing’: so take care.

Blog: The Knowledge Economy

An athlete, in developing their skills will repeatedly ‘try’ various manoeuvres or activities until such time as either they master them, in which case they are ‘done’, or acknowledge that they are beyond their capacity to succeed.

A diver will practice their dives until they become second nature, the cyclist will train to build both their stamina and speed. The opportunity to regularly and frequently rehearse during training exercises is essential to achieving success by ‘doing’ on the field of competition.

In business the opportunity to ‘try’ without experiencing possible adverse affects is significantly reduced. Undertaking a new business activity can result in negative outcomes that may not allow for the chance for a repetition to be attempted. Rather than trying as per the athlete, the end result is that something, perhaps not what was hoped, is done with all of the consequences that ‘doing’ brings to the table. An alternative to doing, that allows for the possible consequences to be acknowlwdged, understood and mitigated, needs to be available.

Doing without first trying, like ‘putting all of the business eggs in one basket’ may actually be the undoing of a business.

To avoid committing to doing something until ready, a business needs to establish a regime where it is able to identify and assess the risks associated with any given activity.

Trying, as per the athlete, now becomes a theoretical or at least a non-committal exercise where the questions ‘what if’ and ‘why’ are asked and using knowledge, hopefully learned from observation of other similar scenarios experienced by the business already or by their competitors, an assessment of the possible consequences and their impact can be made.

The action of trying now allows for the establishment of a level of confidence that can be applied to an assessment and an understanding of both the positive and negative cost implications of doing. With this understanding a decision can made to either ‘do’ or not ‘do’ with some comfort in the expected outcome.

Essential to the success of ‘trying’ is having access to an Enterprise Knowledge Repository where lessons learned from previous ‘doing’ activities and the relevant tacit knowledge held by individuals can be codified so that it becomes both accessible and usable. Coupled with a rigorous governance process and an Enterprise Architecture, providing the framework for the repository, and a view of where the business is headed and why, each of the ‘what if’ and ‘why’ questions can be addressed (or at least acknowledged when they cannot).

Establishing various scenarios that can be ‘tried’ provides a business the opportunity to reduce the risk of exposure to ‘doing’ where, without ‘trying’ the outcome is just a ‘wild guess’, a ‘stab in the dark’ or a ‘hope for the best’.

Leveraging a well-supported Enterprise Architecture and Knowledge Repository provides the ability to identify and apply appropriate mitigation strategies to risks associated with proposed activities.

Understanding the realistic consequences of doing through trying allows for better decisions to be made an fewer suprises.

When doing without trying or having achieved mastery previously, the outcome can be abject failure.

When doing is the considered outcome of trying, business enterprises can prosper.


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