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The Thought for This Week is "I Don't Know"

 

I Don't Know by Rick White, President 180BIZ

I'm going to talk to you about is the dreaded “I don't know.” I want you to write that down. Yes, I know you've heard it a million times. You probably have said it a million times, but that's not what I'm talking about. I want you to write this down. You can't grow your business with “I don't knows”. I'm going to give you a tip to help you work through this and get it so that you can overcome saying, I don’t know. Now this works at home for you that are raising children as well as at work.

The first thing is to stop saying I don't know when someone asks you a question. They don't expect the exact accurate answer. That's what your team thinks, though. When you're asking a team member what is going on here? Or what happened here? Or what do you think we can do? They’re going to come back with I don't know. And it's because they're worried about giving an answer that is not correct. But, who expects the real truth? Who expects the honest to goodness down to earth answer the very first time? Nobody. Nobody does.

Start giving yourself permission to think things through. Give yourself permission to sit back and think about it. What could cause it?  Give yourself the moment to reflect and come up with some different ideas. I want you to stop saying I don't know. There are a few words I want to take out of the English language. Try. Can't. Free. I don't know.

A lot of times you get I don't know as a response because you asked a direct question. That's the first thing, write this down.  You get I don't know because you asked a direct question. Instead of saying what happened or what can you do? Or what can we do? Add one word, just one, the word might. What might have caused this? What might we do? By using that one word, it takes the pressure off for a perfect answer. The other person unconsciously recognizes that you're looking for a dialogue. That you're not expecting the truth. The first tip is to change the question and add the softener might. What might have done this? How might we have done differently? You could also use the word could. How could we have done this differently? That starts a conversation, not a back and forth with the question, answer, question, answer.

The second tip I want to give you is this.  When someone says, I don't know to you, ask this question. I understand you don't know, but if you did, what would it be? By asking that question on the backside of an I don't know, you're implicitly giving them permission to guess. You’re giving them permission ponder and stab at things. This is where the dialogue starts.

Sometimes we say I don't know because we want to save face. We want to save identity or ego. Be aware of that and make it safe for them. Create an environment when you're talking to people where it is safe for them to express themselves in a way that they feel supported. One of the mistakes we make as adults, as leaders, is we only recognize the actual result. You either shower great things on them or really beat them up. But you must recognize effort. You must recognize improvement.

You also need to be kind to yourself. Make it safe so that people can talk. The way you react to something is going to dictate how open they're going to be in the future. I just want you to be aware of that. That's why you're getting the I don't know response. They don't want you yelling at them. They want to protect themselves. I want you to, with a chisel and hammer, strike out the phrase, I don't know, in your shop.

There’s one more thing I want to talk to you about. I spent probably the last 55 hours in training. It was hard. It was taxing mentally and emotionally. And I want you to sit down and ask yourself, am I just getting through the day, getting through this pandemic? I want you to just think that through. Think through what are you doing to grow? I can't tell you how on fire I am because of this training. It was an absolutely amazing life changing weekend. And I want you to have the same kind of progress for you and your team as well. This is Rick White from 180BIZ and that was my Just One Thing.

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