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Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Power of Self-Knowledge

@jonerp asked if there was a better/more challenging business philosophy than "If you build it, they will come?"

So I tweeted the first decent philosophical saying I could think of that was short enough to Tweet, namely Socrates' slogan "Know Thyself".

Jon replied: "I like that one though I do have friends who have very good self-knowledge who are not good at biz."

Of course, the point isn't that self-knowledge will guarantee business success, any more than regular exercise will turn you into a top athlete, but that self-knowledge together with other factors might enhance business success. I'd include collective self-knowledge here as well as personal self-knowledge.

But is that necessarily true? A contrary view of business success is that it is sometimes associated with a single-minded obsession, which too much self-knowledge might conceivably undermine. And as Jon pointed out, "self-knowledge might dictate a need for more 'balance' in life vs. the grind/obsession of biz success". Jon went on to propose the following formula "self-knowledge ~ biz goals aligned with values ~ visibility in your field ~ intimate dialogue with customers ~ market relevance ~ success"

Jon's formula calls out for a VPEC-T analysis. Self-knowledge is a Policy that aligns Events and Content with Values. And to get the intimate dialogue with customers (Trust), we need a particular kind of self-knowledge, sometimes referred to as authenticity. That's quite the opposite of single-minded obsession.

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