Like an iceberg, what you can’t see is what’s dangerous to your business.
There are three areas of knowledge: what you know, what you don’t know and what you don’t know that you don’t know. Your business is like an iceberg, 20% is visible, and 80% is below the surface.
Most business owners and managers are experts in their business; they have a good idea of what they know and don’t know; this is the top 20% of the iceberg. The 80% below the surface is where the danger to your business lurks.
What is this 80%? It’s as varied as business owners and managers. The 80% is the regulations, risks, techniques, business knowledge, etc. that you don’t realize you need to know. The problem is that the business owners and managers don’t recognize that this area even exists or how big it is.
An example from my career was when the company I was working for opened an office in Australia. The company started with one employee and then began to grow. When the company had one employee, there were no issues. As the branch office grew, we hired an Australian company to run our payroll, and the head office handled human resources. As we grew and added employees, we started to have problems.
One problem was Australian superannuation, which is a 9.5% pension tax on employee wages similar to CPP in Canada and Social Security in the USA. This was something no one in the Canadian head office knew about. We didn’t know and didn’t know we didn’t know. The Australian employees thought they knew all about superannuation, and various employees gave differing versions of what we need to pay. Eventually, we found an Australian human resource expert who was able to sort the issue out for us.
Not knowing about superannuation caused a great deal of anxiety and stress for the Australian and head office employees. In the end, the iceberg of Australian pension payments caused much damage to the company. The Australian employees became very distrustful of the head office and continuously raised questions about how the head office managed the Australian operations. Having an expert in Australian business would have saved the company money
Contact Arbutus Management Consulting so we can help you navigate the unseen dangers to your business.
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