What are your "Unknown Unknowns"?

By Karen Beals | January 19, 2018

Politics aside, what stands out for you in this amusing interaction? Does it remind you of any of our Conscious Company tools? While the language and circumstances are not the same (thank goodness), I was thinking “Knowledge Pie.”  The Knowledge Pie is an awareness tool that helps us understand how our knowledge is segmented. “I know what I know;” “I know what I don’t know;” “I don’t know what I don’t know;” and “I think I know but don’t.”

Starting with “I know what I know.”  I know how to drive a car (though perhaps too slowly for those behind me when I choose to drive the speed limit... and you know who you are.) I know how to coach people.

“I know what I don’t know.” Most of us have an idea of what we don’t know. I know that I don’t know how to drive a manual stick shift or how to be CEO of a business. If I wanted to learn how to do either of those things, I do know that I could learn through someone teaching me, studying or school.

The biggest slice is “I don’t know what I don’t know.” The older I get, the more expansive this piece seems to get. This is different for each individual and shifts as our knowledge increases. I didn’t know that when I recently fell and broke my kneecap that the pieces could be wired together with, well, wire.  The x-ray looks like an abstract painting of my knee. Wires wrapped and looped all over. Should make going through the security checkpoint at the airport interesting.

(Left: Karen Beals pictured with her walker and grandmother. Right: Post-surgery of Karen's knee)

I didn’t know until recently what was involved with a CAT scan. Having iodine injected into my body – that’s a very strange sensation, and I am hoping it’s not something I have to do again anytime soon. And then let’s talk about the thoughts racing through my head… another story for another time.

The last slice is “I think I know, but don’t know.” On our Tuthill visuals, we have shaded this ‘red’ for a reason. Arrogance or pride can be at work here. Assumptions are made and not tested. This is dangerous.  (Just think about this one in the context of the Rumsfeld video). At Tuthill, we want you to practice the Our Way behavior of Curiosity. Ask questions if you do not understand. LOTS of questions, if you must.  Sometimes this requires Grit, another Our Way Behavior. This will lead you to the Our Way behavior of Clarity. Ask for help if you need it, which will most likely lead you to Grace, Gratitude and Love.

These past few weeks I have had to ask for a lot of help and have grace with myself. After having gone through a CAT scan to identify whether there was a blood clot in my lung. I don’t like blood clot and lung in the same sentence. I have a LOT of gratitude that I am healing simply from a broken kneecap and sore rib— again, another story for another time. It involves my walker and a clumsy attempt to plug in my phone.

As you can see, the Knowledge Pie is dynamic; not static. The shared knowledge that we learn from each other helps us to be an ingenious company supporting flourishing families and spirited communities.

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