I Had an Interesting Night Yesterday, and it Can Help Your Company Too!
I didn’t take my private jet to Las Vegas.
I didn’t go to New York City to see Hamilton.
I did go about a mile from home and attend a political meet-and-greet with a candidate for local office in the upcoming New Hampshire primary election. He is in the same party that I strongly support, and he was with a very friendly crowd. Yet all I heard was a stump speech and when people asked questions, we received the same lines that he used in his initial talk. So, how can this help you?
As I sat there I realized that he didn’t want new ideas and wasn’t going to say “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I will find out and get back to you.” Do you do that when an employee or a customer asks you a question? That sure is great way to ruin employee moral or to lose a sale.
So, here is what you do. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Nobody knows everything that is asked of them. You are at an employee meeting, which should take place at least once a month, and you get a stumper. It is something that requires homework. Say so, do the homework, and within a week, get back to the questioner with an answer. The answer doesn’t have to be a yes to every idea or want that an employee has, but the answer is the most important part of this conversation. I have attended many employee meetings, both at my company and at various companies where I consult, and there is always a question that is a stumper, or one that needs thought before a solid answer can be given. Don’t sing-song your way through this. Give a solid answer within the week and you are a hero. Giving no answer means that employee will not ask a question again, and will toil mindlessly at his or her job.
Same thing for a customer, but your time frame is shorter. You are bidding a job and the hard question comes up. You have until tomorrow to answer, because if it is a bid job, then your customer is talking to a couple of other shops. You don’t want to be the last in line to get back to your customer.
Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. Do the homework to come to an answer and you will come out ahead.