Why a little well-intentioned ignorance can go a long, long way.
According to the eighteenth-century English poet, Thomas Gray, what you don’t know cannot hurt you. We would go one step further and suggest that, in the context of external business relationships, what you don’t know can be positively good for you.
We believe that the most important quality an external partner can bring to the table is objectivity and, a certain amount of ignorance.
The Objectivity of Ignorance
This is something described quite brilliantly in Peter Mead’s new book, When In Doubt Be Nice. Peter – one of the founders of the UK’s biggest advertising agency – Abbott Mead Vickers (AMV BBDO) – calls it the ‘Objectivity of Ignorance’ and he describes the early part of the client/agency relationship like this: ‘It’s a magical time when your judgement is unimpaired by over-familiarity or, much more importantly, political considerations.’
It’s why, for one major client, we recommended splitting previously intertwined sales and service functions and why, for another, we focused marketing on existing customers and distribution channels – not end-users as is typical in their sector.
Insight from Ignorance
In our experience, this leaves us free to ask obvious questions, to which there are often no obvious answers! And it’s this type of inquisitive ignorance that most often leads to truly insightful ideas and new business practices.
Keep your Rough Edges
As one client put it to us, ‘Take a good look around (our business) but come back with proposals before we knock the rough edges off you.’ This is a maxim that’s stuck with us and the reason why we always seek to engage in our clients’ businesses as their customers would, in an effort to provide inputs that resonate with customers – not just our clients.
Why not get in touch and see if our ignorance to your current challenges could be bliss for us both…