‘I don’t know’ is a phrase seldom coined in comfortable situations – especially in the boardroom. However, its use is of crucial importance in business, despite the impression you might give on The Apprentice.
It can be hard for a business leader to admit a gap in their knowledge but Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics thinks that it’s an essential aspect of the job. In an interview with Marketing Week, he explained his opinion.
In the video, Levitt places emphasis on the importance not only of not only admitting shortfalls in knowledge, but also on using research and data in the absence of an answer.
An expert is rendered unable to learn if they are unable to admit that they don’t know the answer to a question. And an inability to learn breeds ignorance and leads to failure in understanding the market in which they are deemed to be ‘expert’.
This can be applied to many other fields of business. Being honest about where you have a knowledge gap is not a weakness; it’s the first step to doing something about it. Here at Mustard, we are most able to help researchers who are honest about their ability to communicate and understand their weaknesses as well as their strengths.
Honesty is the best policy.