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We Know What We Know…Doesn’t Everybody Know It?

Have you ever found yourself taking for granted that everyone else knew exactly what you knew and didn’t begin to think that might not be the case? What would it mean if we assumed others didn’t know what we knew? If we started off with that premise, how much easier would it be to have generative dialogue and create something that not only stuck but just might be sustainable?

Have you ever found yourself taking for granted that everyone else knew exactly what you knew and didn’t begin to think that might not be the case? What would it mean if we assumed others didn’t know what we knew? If we started off with that premise, how much easier would it be to have generative dialogue and create something that not only stuck but just might be sustainable?

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I was recently reading a summary for the book “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” and as I had recently read “The Tipping Point” where they talk about stickiness as well, the topic of this book intrigued me. I was fascinated by this not to promote a product, but to help me in my work laser coaching my clients through chaotic days. This concept helped me articulate a snapshot of a moment in time in such a way they’d not only see it but ‘get it’.

Something in the summary really hit home which is when Chip Heath and Dan Heath state “To strip an idea down to its core, we must be masters of exclusion. We must relentlessly prioritize. Saying something short isn’t the mission — sound bites aren’t the ideal. Proverbs are the ideal. We must create ideas that are both simple and profound. A one-sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning it…. Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it’s like not to know it. Our knowledge has “cursed” us.”

Then it occurred to me that many people are cursed by their knowledge as they can’t fathom why others don’t see things as they do because it’s obvious, right? ‘Knowing’ becomes a filter through which ideas are shared and instructions given but if the other party has no idea of what you’d talking about, there is an immediate disconnect.

Have you ever found yourself taking for granted that everyone else knew exactly what you knew and didn’t begin to think that might not be the case? Then you find yourself explaining everything to the ‘nth’ degree only to find yourself starting back at square one? There’s nothing more frustrating.

As much as I dislike assumptions and how they get people into trouble, what would it mean if we assumed others didn’t know what we knew? If we started off with that premise, how much easier would it be to have generative dialogue and create something that not only stuck but just might be sustainable?

Donna Karlin • Executive and Political Shadow Coach™ • Ottawa, Canada • •www.abetterperspective.com

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About the author

Donna Karlin CEC, Diplomate IABMCP and founder and principal of A Better Perspective® & The School of Shadow Coaching, has pioneered the specialized practice of Shadow Coaching® with global political, government, business and senior organizational leaders in the public and private sectors. Donna capitalizes on almost 30 years of experience in coaching, consulting and training to help clients and their organizations evolve into their level of excellence.

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