I Don't Know

An interesting thing happened today at work.

There was a company wide all-hands meeting this evening, this is where the executives review our past quarter performance and reveal the all important number that everyone is most interested in - the bonus payout percentage. However, it is not the bonus payout percentage that is interesting… what caught my attention is a quick, short comment made by the CEO which could be paraphrased into: a CEO should not say “I don’t know”.

It took me by surprise, as I am trying to learn to say “I don’t know” more often! You know what I mean - it is really hard to say/admit “I don’t know” at work as there is almost always a pressure to deliver some kind of an answer or to look good/save face in a meeting. Sometimes it is ignorance and sometimes it is just not enough available information - but I believe saying “I don’t know” is one of the most honest, courageous and confident action one can make. I would rather see a leader readily admits to his/her lack of understanding than for a facade of omniscience.

“Stay hungry, stay young, stay foolish, stay curious, and above all, stay humble because just when you think you got all the answers, is the moment when some bitter twist of fate in the universe will remind you that you very much don’t.” ― Tom Hiddleston