I am glad I did not know.

I am glad no one knew.

When I went to work for Truett Cathy to help him build the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, I was the third staff employee.  None of us knew.

None of us had built or operated or even worked in a restaurant chain.  No one had any experience in organizing a franchise system.

We did not know how to do it, and that was an advantage!

If we had started with experience from another restaurant chain, today Chick-fil-A probably would be like one of the other chicken chains or maybe one of the hamburger chains.  It is even more likely that we would have failed like so many other restaurant chains that are now long gone and forgotten.

Because we did not know, we were free to invent and create a restaurant chain that was different from anything else in the industry.

I am glad I did not know.

I am glad no one knew.

My friend Anthony A. Malizia, Jr., MD said, “The greatest enemy of learning is knowing.”

Think about that.  When we are confident that we know something, we close our minds to ideas, suggestions, thoughts and points of view that are not consistent with what we know.  Imagination, creativity and questioning cease to penetrate the ruling confidence of experience that is in control of our minds.  The adventure of exploration and discovery are choked off by the pride of knowing, “I have been there and done that.”

That’s when we lose …

The Advantage of Not Knowing!

Remember when your organization hired an outsider from another organization similar to yours?

Remember how people sought that person’s knowledge asking, “How did you do it?”  Remember how everyone listened with a quite reverence for the wise tales of wonderful results?  Remember how the new person relished the attention?  Is it any wonder that he or she was so free to share that valuable knowledge?

He/she believed, “I have been hired to help this organization become like the one I left.”  As a result, didn’t your organization become more like the one he or she had left?

I am glad that the top level of management at Chick-fil-A never worked for another restaurant chain.

I am glad Chick-fil-A is not like any other restaurant chain.

I am glad that we did not lose …

The Advantage of Not Knowing!

I am glad I did not know.

I am glad no one knew.

Jimmy Collins