Try this deceptively simple list as part of your business planning process. List what you know, what you don’t know, what you assume, and what you don’t know you don’t know.

The fourth one is the biggest challenge, according to Venture capitalist Stu Phillips in Soaring on Ridgelift, the author.

It’s a virtual list because the moment you identify something that should go on it, by definition you now KNOW YOU DON’T KNOW and it gets added to the second list.”

This seems like an excellent way to work with teams.

“This is one reason why a team of people is often far more effective than any individual.  You can populate this virtual list by reviewing the plan as it unfolds with the executive team, cofounders, investors and advisors.”

The last two lists are the most important.

“Most problems in business stem from the last two lists – assumptions prove to be wrong (or simply aren’t recognized because with hindsight, it’s clear they were wrong!) or something nails you in the back of the head that could have been anticipated if you’d been open to thinking about the fourth list.”

Read the original post. It’s well worth it.

Tim Berry

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.