Explore Jeff Hayzlett’s Perspective: If Knowledge is Power in Small Business, What About All the Unknowns?

Jeff Hayzlett book

Does anyone use the phrase, “Hey! Waddya know?” as a greeting any more?

That simple phrase seemed harmless enough to me until I was reading through Jeff Hayzlett’s new book, “Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless.” He ploughs the philosophical ground of what we know and what we don’t know rather deeply. When you read the book, I suspect you’ll pause for a few moments in Chapter Eight to consider your own knowledge and presuppositions.

A friend of mine used to teach high school students – who, as you probably are aware, know everything. He wanted to get them to consider for even a moment that some of the things they were clinging to as truth, might not be so true after all, so he asked them a couple of questions:

“Do you think you know everything?” he asked. (Even teenagers when asked directly have to admit they might not know every single thing there is to know. Once they admitted this he followed up.

“Okay, given that there are things in the world that you don’t know, do you think any of those unknowns will ever prove to you that something you hold as true today, in fact, isn’t true?”

This is something we need to understand in business as well because, as Hayzlett puts it, if we are overconfident in our knowledge we lose awareness and it makes us oblivious to things in the present and we “stop looking for them and acting on them for the future.”

“Not being in a constant state of awareness of who we are, how we are perceived, the trends in our industries, and how we (and our competitors) are doing things means we aren’t thinking beyond what we know (emphasis mine).” Hayzlett writes in his new release.

Growing your business and joining the one percent of small business owners who get to those million-dollar levels of sales, takes being in command today and being ready to be in command tomorrow. And let’s face it, tomorrow, by definition, is an “unknown.” You need to be fully aware of this, take care of today’s challenges, and always be looking beyond what is real and true today to what will be real and true tomorrow. Here’s the way Hayzlett puts it:

“Too many times we think we have gotten our business to where it is supposed to be and will always be and stop thinking about what is left to learn in the present, not just the future. In other words, too often we get by just focusing on the known knowns.”

This is, of course, a paradox and as humans we are uncomfortable living a paradox. But to be successful in your small business you have to have the courage and conviction to go all-in with your vision today knowing that you’re just dealing with the “known knowns.” The key is to keep your eyes open, your awareness volume knob turned up to “10” (or “11” if you’re a fan of “Spinal Tap”) and always be adding to your “known knowns.”

When you do that, you position yourself to “Think Big, Act Bigger.”