What is the most important lesson I’ve learned in this business? If I had to narrow it down to one, I couldn’t. But this morsel is in the top 5.
Know what you know and don’t know what you don’t know.
In other words, be the expert in your niche/field/industry, but it there are things that you don’t know – be totally honest about them. If you pretend to know things that you don’t, you’ll only get trouble. This is really about honesty. It’s also about integrity and good business.
When I don’t know something, I say that I don’t know it, and I say that I will find out. And here comes the colleagues piece. I am very fortunate to have a few brilliant colleagues to whom I can take these questions, to whom I can show my lack of knowledge. We talk to each other and we share information. We understand that we can’t possibly know everything and that the true sign of our professional IQ is our ability to ask the questions and admit that we can’t possibly know it all. Even when I think I know, I ask – because the more information, the better.
Know what you know. Don’t know what you don’t know. (and nurture your relationships with your trusted colleagues.)