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Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

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1 The difference between ‘knowledge’ and ‘skills’

Photo of a man cooking.
Figure 1 Knowledge and skills

Simply put, ‘knowledge’ is information, facts or understanding about something. So, you might ‘know’ the rules of cricket, or the recipe for a chicken curry, or how to mend a bicycle puncture. There is a difference, though, between ‘knowing what’ and ‘knowing how.’ Knowing the recipe for chicken curry is not the same as having the practical skills needed to make it. For example, if you have never chopped anything, you probably won’t have acquired the necessary knife skills. This is a key difference between knowledge and skill. A ‘skill’ means that you are able to do something. Of course, there are different levels of skill and practice is usually the key to improving these. As your chicken curry making skills improve with practice, in effect you gain what might be called practical knowledge as a result of developing these skills.

It is important to have or to learn the skills and knowledge you need for the kind of work you want to do. You begin by looking at the roles you play in your life and what these require of you. This will help you to see what knowledge and skills you have acquired along the way. Then you are invited to do an ‘audit’ of your skills and to assess how well you do them, so that you build up a clear picture of how well you do things. This will help you to appreciate your strengths.