Have you ever noticed that many people just can’t say I don’t know. Instead, when confronted with a question in which this should be their answer they instead avoid the question, come back with a different question or answer with complete bullshit.
When did it become a failure to not know everything about everything? It’s okay to say it. I know that I don’t know far more than what I do know.
Now, I’ve been told many times that I’m talking about things that I don’t know anything about. This happens a lot when consulting, like when you’re telling the guy who has been building cabinets for over 30 years how to improve his business.
You think politicians are bad at not being able to say I don’t know, try working with entreprenuers.
I had to learn the hard way, I’m actually still working on this a lot, not to ask any questions in which the answer could be, I don’t know. It only causes them to get defensive, normally leads to them starting to lie to me and then ends up with them having to fire me to hide it.
This process has also helped me work on it saying I don’t know more myself. I thought I was doing pretty good at it myself but I noticed that too many times I only used I don’t know as part of a more complicated response. More recently this has come up with people asking me about construction related projects. Do you know how to “X”. My response now is, NO, I DON’T KNOW. I will then pause, let that sink in and then share with them whether I’m willing to tackle it all, bring in a friend or if this is the type of project that I feel that I can figure it out.
I can only assume that people resist saying I don’t know because they assume this will make them appear less capable but on the contrary I think that it builds more trust. It’s more honest.
A funny thought that just popped in my head is the number of times I hear people in business complaining about their clients expecting them to know and do everything. Guess what, you probably inadvertently taught them that by acting like you know and can do everything!
I don’t know, but that might be something for you to think about.
Have a fantastic week.