The knowledge-principle-action framework is a way to turn information into substantial change. Developing a framework to deal with new information is vital to learning and retaining information for future usage and application. By starting with knowledge, you capture every piece of information that comes in the door to convert it into something of greater value. Having a principle provides a mental model that can be applied elsewhere. Action makes you put knowledge and principle into practice.
Let’s say you run a company that manufactures and sells pens. Your company currently only offers one type of pen: a black ballpoint pen, and you are trying to sell this one pen to your friends, family, and anyone that will buy.
Knowledge: As you’re out in the world selling your pen, you keep hearing that people wish they could buy a pen just like it but with red ink. This is new knowledge: there is a proven demand for a red pen. Alone, this knowledge isn’t worth very much. You won’t sell more pens simply by knowing this fact.
Principle: Knowing that people want red pens is not learning in itself, and that’s what principle is all about. What does this mean for your business? If people want red pens, it means that there is untapped demand that you can fulfill. You should produce a product to fit this market of people who want the product. That’s a small but important principle, extracted from the simple data that you discovered in your sales process.
Action: All of this thinking is useless unless you take action. If producing red pens will increase sales and fits your vision, then do it. As simple as it might seem on paper, there are plenty of examples in our lives when we have all of the knowledge and principle that we need, and completely refuse to act on it. Refusing to take action and tell somebody how we feel, refusing to get rid of distractions, refusing to act on our intuition that tells us to leave a bad situation: It’s a problem.
Three words, and they’re not even (that) hard to spell: knowledge, principle, action.