The Curse of Knowledge

You may have read our thoughts on the curse of options founders face in the midst of running a business, but equally as impactful to the success of your team is the curse of knowledge.

As a founder, you see all the angles and have a higher-level perspective. You own the vision and overall direction of the company and although you may not be closest to the issues of day-to-day operations, you have the big picture view of all the cogs in the machine.

This is essential, but can be alienating as well.

Founders often are guilty of thinking their management team and employees see things as clearly and as connected as they do and may not realize that all the thoughts and concerns they have are not fully known or understood by the rest of their organization.

Because founders are in the role of projecting into the future, it can be easy to assume everyone else is moving at the same speed toward the same point. When you magnify the road map however, you’ll see that though it appears you are all moving in close lines sides by sides, your paths are far apart and hitting different marks on the map.

“As founders of a growing business, we had to do everything ourselves and everything on the fly. I had to go a thousand miles a minute in my mind,” said Jason Polstein of his experiences leading RIP-IT Sporting Goods. As the company grew, he explains, “With a total knowledge of the company, I unreasonably expected the same level of insight from the team.”

As founders you have to be aware of the assumptions and information you are working with and how that compares to the daily concerns and focus of the rest of your team. You have to help clearly vision the way forward and actively keep everyone moving in the same direction.

By assuming that the team has your focus and knowledge, you will wind up stunting growth if you aren’t reiterating and verifying it along the way.