Archive for the ‘club insights’ Category

Guest Blog: You Don’t Know . . . What You Don’t Know!

Monday, May 9th, 2011

blake_ashdownNote:  This week’s guest blog is by Blake Ashdown.  Blake is CEO of Club Insights by SureVista.  You can learn more about their services by clicking on the link at the end of the blog.

As a professor at the business school at Michigan State University, I was frequently asked by my students, “What do I have to do to be successful in business?”  It’s a simple question, but one without a definitive answer.  Over the years, I have started and run many successful businesses and each one taught me something different.

But after reflecting on this question, I realized that there was one success principle that stood out; one that, if I hadn’t followed, would not have led me to the successes I eventually achieved –  here it is, “Successful people have an insatiable appetite to pursue what they do not know, and then apply it to their business and life.”

There are two key concepts in this principle:

  1. You must have an appetite to pursue what you do not know.
  2. After you discover or learn something you did not know you must apply it to your business and life.  If you never apply it, it is of no value.

This principle seems simple, and yet very few successfully execute it.  Here is why:

You don’t know what you don’t know!  You probably think you know, but you don’t!  How do you know what you don’t know?  If this seems confusing, let me try to bring some clarity.  Have you ever thought or said something like this, “If only I had known two years ago what I know today, I never would have…

  • hired that person.”
  • bought that car.”
  • used that vendor.”
  • taken that job.”
  • gone out with that person!”

At the time, you made a decision based on the information you had available to you.  You thought you knew what you were doing and you thought you were making a wise decision.  But later, you discovered that there were some things you didn’t know and, had you known them, you would have made a different decision.

This is called the Law of Unintended Consequences.  You made a decision, thinking it was the right decision, only later to learn that it was not the right choice.  As a result, you suffered an unintended consequence.  In fact, most problems you encounter as a Club Leader are the result of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Now, sometimes unintended consequences are unavoidable.  But too often, they could have been avoided if you would have had the desire to learn things you did not know.

You see, studies show that most people would rather talk about what they know, rather than pursue what they don’t know.  Do you know anyone like that?  Someone who is always talking about what they know, or telling you why something cannot be done.  They make excuses as to why something cannot be done, when it may be they don’t know anything about it.

In fact, through his research at the University of Georgia, Paul Schempp has found that most people think they know much more than they really do.  In his book 5 Steps to Expert, Schempp identified 5 steps to becoming an expert in your field.  The 5 steps are:

  1. Beginner
  2. Capable
  3. Competent
  4. Proficient
  5. Expert

Experts are the highest skilled professional in their field with exceptional amounts of both experience and education.  Shempp’s research found something interesting.  He asked the participants, “How much of what you need to know to be successful in your profession, do you know?”

  • The average response from Beginners and Capables…90%.
  • The average response from true Experts…60%.

Here’s the point, most of us know much less than we think, and the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.

You don’t know what you don’t know.  Your board members don’t know what they don’t know.  The only way you, as a Club Leader, can achieve success is to realize you don’t know what you don’t know and actively seek out what you do not know.

You cannot eliminate the law of unintended consequences, but you can minimize it.  This is why research is so important.  Data is just information.  Information when it is understood in its context becomes knowledge.  Knowledge that becomes actionable is wisdom.  When you have wisdom, you make wise choices, and wise choices lead to success.

Blake Ashdown, CEO Club Insights by SureVista.  See Blake’s insightful video blogs here.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

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