Wednesday, March 11, 2009

When You Don't Know What You Don't Know

I just got back from Grand Rapids. As a favor, Jackson Radio Works invited me to join them for the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference to see Roy H. Williams, aka the Wizard of Ads, do a 3-hour presentation on how radio broadcasters can turn around the Michigan economy.

Whenever I see Roy, it rocks my world and gets my juices flowing. He makes his points more clearly and in a more convincing way than any speaker I have had the pleasure to see. Unfortunately, he made so many points in those three hours that I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around all of them.

The one thing I learned is how much I don't know what I don't know.

When you are aware of what you don't know, you get to choose whether or not to learn it. The problem, of course, is when you don't know what you don't know. Then you don't know what to learn. When I see speakers like Roy, I realize I have that problem. I don't know what I don't know.

Do you have that problem, too?

So I thought of some simple solutions.

Attend classes and trainings. If you're a retailer, the Jackson Retail Success Academy is a good start. Also look at your industry to see if there are any conferences with speakers. The American Specialty Toy Retailers Association (ASTRA) hosts a great conference every spring. Maybe your industry has a similar event? At every training, class or seminar you learn something new, something you probably didn't know you didn't know.

Attend events with speakers and presentations. Here in Jackson we have events like the Economic Luncheons of the Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce and the Midtown Morning Breakfast, among other events that have speakers of interest. Because each speaker brings a different perspective to light, you are almost guaranteed to learn something you didn't know you didn't know.

Pick the brains of your peers and contemporaries. Have lunch sessions with these people and choose topics of discussion that you publicize before you meet. Have each member of your lunch bunch pick a topic of discussion. They may bring up a topic completely foreign to you. Ta da! Something you didn't know you didn't know.

Actually, it's quite easy to learn stuff you don't know you don't know. You just have to be willing to learn.

Your business decisions are only as strong as the info you have. When you don't know something, your business suffers. When you don't know what you don't know, your business suffers more. What are you wiliing to learn?

-Phil

1 comment:

  1. Phil,
    Brandon - Owner of Biggby Coffee here in Jackson, Mi. Saw the helpareporterout.com request below and thought of you. Call me if you have no idea what HARO is...517.795.4850
    Blessings,

    6) Summary: Toy Stores that Blog

    Category: Business & Finance

    Name: Cliff Annicelli

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    Title: Editor

    Media Outlet/Publication: Playthings Magazine

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    Specific Geographic Region? No

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    Deadline: 6:00 PM EASTERN - March 24

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