You are in front of an inquisitorial crowd, maybe your own people, and have to say, I don’t know.
Don’t leave it like this. It is:
- I don’t know but I will find out
- I don’t know yet
- I don’t know, do you know?
- I don’t know, who do you think can answer it?
- I don’t know. And I suspect you don’t know either. Shall we find out?
I am very fond of number 5.
The worse thing is to make it up. I see that every day. People feel compelled to say, to intervene, to give the answer. Any answer. We are so rich in answers and so poor in questions.
I navigate in a human capital (consulting) territory (culture, change, leadership, design) in which there seems to be more experts than people in the payroll. So, I see lots of experts who would not challenge a Net Present Value coming from Finance but who have erected themselves as masters of behavioural and cultural change. Oh well.
There is an old saying in Taoism: ‘To know that one does not know is best. To not know, but to believe that one knows, is a disease”.
That is why I thing many people in organizations don’t look too well