April
15
2016

Silos of Knowledge

By Chris 0

If you’ve been reading these essays for awhile, you’ll know I was raised a farmer.

I grew up in pasture and orchard, a 300-acre hobby (that means lots of work for a net loss of capital) for my parents, who were teachers then. We did a little bit of a lot of things, and one of those was harvesting grain.

Our “grain bins” weren’t huge – just giant wooden boxes, really. But our neighbors had tall silos to feed their cattle through the Ontario winters.

If you’ve never seen a silo, it’s narrow and deep with a dome on top. A silo can hold a lot of grain–but only a single type. They make loading and feeding easy, but they’re not robust; if you’re feeding two different types of grain to your animals, you need two silos.

These days, I cultivate knowledge. The TwoBrain mentorship program draws deep from my own experience, mistakes and knowledge. But as our farm grows, I’m increasingly wary of the “silo effect”: depth of information without enough breadth.

As CrossFit coaches, we know diversity is good for our clients. As a business coach, it’s my job to draw knowledge from varied sources and filter it into useful advice. This advice changes over time, because when gym owners become entrenched in one “method” or “philosophy,” it hurts them. Knowledge becomes rhetoric, then religion, and no one grows anymore.

When I recorded Two-Brain Business on audiobook (you can download it here) I left out some of the essays from the print edition. Written in 2012, those lessons are simply no longer relevant. “Two-Brain Business” is the best-selling fitness business book of all time, but I’ll soon pull it from the shelves, because everyone should be reading the 2.0 version instead.

(Or maybe not. The stories are still some of my favorites.)

Yesterday, Jay and I were talking about the future of the TwoBrain program. He mentioned tomorrow’s seminar in Charlotte and asked if I was ready. I said, “I’m never ready. It’s a new presentation every time.” Despite being a 12-hour day, all of the content is brand new…because the stuff I taught a year ago is no longer on the cutting edge. Others have picked up the gauntlet and are repeating those messages; it’s my job to remain a “chimp” instead of a “parrot.”

This is why I love having both Larris and Jay on the mentoring team at TwoBrain – they’re VERY different. Ken is really a lot like me (or the empathetic guy I aspire toward.) Brian is like me, sped up 10 times. They’re all chimps: forward-thinkers who see around corners. They’re all successful but not satisfied, and they’re all made happy through their work. Others will follow the path to mentorship in the future.

The goal is to diversify our crop by inviting a robust crew of farmers. These men (and soon, women) are more than former mentorees of mine: they’re my own role models. They keep me in balance. Put Larris on one shoulder, and Ken on another; Jay at my back and Brian illuminating the path forward…and this is a pretty amazing team.

“I don’t compete with knowledge” is a personal mantra. TwoBrainBusiness will continue to be the “sum of systems” instead of the dogmatic disciple of one.

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