Know-how and Know-why

There is an interesting article over the Harvard Working Knowledge website titled Is There Too Little “Know Why” in Business? People usually focus on the processes, on the control structures, on the know-how. What about the know-why? That is, not only running but also knowing where and why you are running.

Quoting the article: “The problem is we get so caught up in the nitty gritty of implementation that we forget why we are here in the first place …. ‘Why’ is just as important as the ‘How’; they are not mutually exclusive.”

I think this problem is particularly relevant on our modern, information based society. Change is not only pervasive, but its also accelerating. The result is that companies and managers get overwhelmed trying to develop new products faster, trying to satisfy the expectations of shareholders, trying to beat the sales targets and so on. All that while forgetting why they are there in the first place and what is the real purpose of their organization.

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