The Entrepreneurial Curse of Knowledge

dialogueWhen you initially start a small business, you wear many different hats to keep things going.  As your small business grows, you can’t do all of the things inside of your small business as you used to be able to.  This is a great thing.  The next step is to start hiring/building a team to help you run your business.  The challenge is that a lot of entrepreneurs aren’t initially strong at the management aspect of their business.  One condition that I see a lot of entrepreneurs suffer from is the curse of knowledge.

We have all worked for or with someone who suffered from the curse of knowledge.  This is the boss/entrepreneur who assumes that everyone clearly understands their complete vision after talking with them for five minutes or assumes that you know what they are thinking  just because you work there.

Even though I had experienced the curse of knowledge many times, it was articulated to me in a concrete manner by the book Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.  In the book they give an example of a test that was run where they had one person tap a song that they had in their head on a table.  While this person was tapping out their tune, another person sits there and tries to guess the tune that is being tapped.  Rarely did the listener guess the right tune much to the frustration of the tapper.  The tapper couldn’t understand why the listener didn’t get it.  It seemed so obvious to the person in charge of tapping the tune.  This is the same plight of the leader/entrepreneur.

The vision in our mind is so clear that we think that everyone just gets it.  In order to build high performing teams for your organization, it’s important to get past the curse of knowledge so that you are able to get everyone associated with your business, whether it be internal or external team members, on the same page and driving towards a common goal.  Business owners who are able to do this find that their business is able to get high results much faster and easier than business owners who ignore this.

What tips can you give for articulating the vision of your business?  How has this worked for you in the past?

3 thoughts on “The Entrepreneurial Curse of Knowledge”

  1. Communication is definitely the key here. One problem I have is my tendency to be too anxious. I want things to already be rolling, yet I haven’t even really thought about a thorough plan, much less communicate it to my partner or team. I think the best thing is to write out what your plan is, in detail, then gain input from your team.

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