You Don’t Have To Know All the Answers to succeed

Enoch Burke is neither the first, nor the last, to cause a stir in a court of law.

In the weeks immediately following World War 1, a Chicago newspaper issued a series of articles proclaiming that Henry Ford, the worlds most revered car manufacturer, was an ‘ignorant pacifist.’
Mr Ford vehemently objected to the allegations and brought forthwith a libel case against the newspaper.

Moreover, in a manner redolent of Enoch Burke, Ford took the extraordinary action of representing himself in the witness box in his effort to prove that he was – not ignorant.
The barrister for the defence rejoiced in the task of undermining Fords intellectual rigour. To this end he proceeded to pepper Ford with a slew of outrageously difficult questions which Ford clearly didn’t know the answers to.

When the barrister finally asked Ford the question ‘How many soldiers did the British send over to America to put down the Rebellion of 1776,’ Ford displayed an admiral sense of humour in replying that ‘I do not know the exact number of soldiers the British sent over, but I have heard that it was a considerably larger number than ever went back.’

And whilst his reply induced warm applause in the courtroom it was obvious that Ford had become annoyed at the barristers line of questioning.

Pointing his finger at the barrister who’d asked the question he said.

‘If I should really WANT to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer ANY question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me, WHY I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?”

His response floored the lawyer. Every person in the courtroom realised it was the answer, not of an ignorant man, but of a highly educated man.

• Any person is educated who knows where to get knowledge when they need it, and how to organise that knowledge into definite plans of action…..
• You don’t need to know all the answers. Contrary to popular thinking knowledge is not absolute power. The ability to access that knowledge is however gold dust.
• Henry Ford had neither the luxury of Google or Chatgpt. You have.
• And central to this is the strength and potency of your network. You verily are the average of those you are surrounded by the most.

I once asked Pádraig Ó Céidigh if he needed to be a good pilot to run an airline.
‘I am an entrepreneur Pádraic. I create businesses that make a difference in the world. I can neither fly a plane, nor for that matter, fix one. I have pilots and engineers who do that.’

1. What did you take from this story?
2. Who are the people at the end of your ‘push-buttons’ who can answer your most pressing questions?
3. What action will you take now as a result of its message to you?
(Apart from telling business stories Pádraic Ó Máille is the creator of Smácht. Smácht helps business owners clarify their strategy and marketing so that people and customers listen. If you feel it would help to clarify your strategy let’s have a chat. Email me or call me on or 0035387-2647817.)

Choose and benefit from Pádraic Ó Máille services: Smacht Programme, Keynote Speaker, Business Coaching, Business Mentoring, and One-to-One Coaching.

What’s more, join a Smácht Mastermind group. Learn how to become more decisive and take responsibility for making a difference in the world. Book a call today.

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