It couldn’t be said more simply than this Quora response:
Knowledge is knowing a desert path is 16 kilometres long.
Wisdom is building a lemonade stand at kilometre 6.
To run a healthy organization, a leader must place a higher premium on wisdom over knowledge.
It seems that we spend most of our time acquiring information and not enough time thinking about what to do with it.
How do leaders gain wisdom?
First, stop spending so much time acquiring knowledge.
Leaders who are constantly consuming industry information and the latest trends can become distracted by what is new and shiny.
Instead of searching for a magic bullet, the best leaders spend more time with their leadership team members:
- Ensuring there is a clear and widely understood strategic vision;
- Implementing plans to meet their objectives and ensure that the efficiencies and effectiveness achieved support delivery of the vision; and,
- Monitoring and maintaining a laser-like focus on its strategic goals and objectives.
There is no argument for professional ignorance.
But, there is an argument for knowing how to take the collective knowledge of the organization, apply the right amount of wisdom to put it to good use.
“Knowledge is understanding that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
Leadership is not about being the smartest person in the room, or the smartest person in the company.
It is about not putting tomatoes in the fruit salad, leaving employees wondering “how could someone be so stupid?”