Back to Basics: The Power of “I Don’t Know”


Your first two or three years in business are hard. Your learning curve is so steep, and sometimes it feels like you don’t know anything.

Around 12:30 one afternoon, the switchboard put in a call to me. It was a client with a very fact-specific question about a problem at their facility. I immediately understood the question but realized the answer wasn’t simply what the law said. And I also immediately understood I didn’t have enough business perspective and experience to give a good answer.

So, I took a deep breath, repeated the question back to him, and told him “I don’t know, but when the partner comes back from lunch, I will bring this matter to his attention and we will get back to you.”

I was nervous the client would be angry that I didn’t immediately know the answer to his question.

Instead, he was grateful I understood his situation and would get him a competent answer.

You don’t have to know it all; you have to know how to find the answer or refer your customer to the right resource.


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