It is interesting to consider the notion of ‘knowledge’ and how experts are given that label.

Often it just means that someone who is seen as an ‘expert’ may have just a little bit more knowledge that those who are listening.

Consider the primary school teacher, teaching maths to 10 year olds. To them, the teacher is an expert, knows it all, but could that same teacher teach maths at high school, graduate, or post graduate level? Probably not.

In primary school they are a relative expert, but the depth of knowledge required to teach maths at a post graduate level is far higher than primary school. On the other hand, could the teacher of post graduate maths teach 10 year olds?

Often not, as they do not relate to the level of knowledge that exists, and the way these kids will think and learn. The Uni professor may have all the maths skills, but often no skill at relating to their 10 year old audience, often simply because of the assumed level of expertise .

“How could they not know that?”

This post evolved out of a series I am doing, teaching basic software skills to small businesses by relating them to the things they need to do in their business every day, cash flow, P&L, and the other basic stuff that are absolutely essential to a business, but ignored by many small businesses simply because they do not understand what is being said.

There are legions of free “how to” videos, manuals, and the rest, readily available, but still I see small businesses every day who do not understand the importance of actively managing cash flow, or if they do, how to go about it.

Accountants know this, but they have generally failed dismally to communicate it to their small business client base. Generally it is not because they do  not want to, but rather because they fail to communicate at the really basic level many small businesses require. On the other hand, owners of small businesses are often loathe to engage their accountants in this sort of conversation at $200/hour when they know they will not understand a thing.

Clearly the assumed level of knowledge is too high  they get confused, and do not relate, but that is not  their problem, it is that those setting out to teach the stuff have failed to understand their audience.