Businesses, communities, marriages, careers, lives are suffering, deteriorating or being destroyed everyday in so many ways. And, although there are numerous causes of this suffering, deterioration and destruction, I am consistently receiving this response as one major contributors – “I don’t know.”
We define ourselves by our thoughts, words and actions. What are we conveying to others when we say we don’t know?
We need to question and ask why we are saying “I don’t know my responsibilities in my career, my community or family.” If we agree to a role or a job, we need to be crystal clear about what we have agreed to or signed up for. If we are the CEO, president, owner, employee, spouse, parent or volunteer, it is imperative for us to have the expectations clearly laid out before we agree to the position.
I caught a segment of a reality television show – I honestly can’t tell you the name – but the show was about an expectant mother who was seeking help from an expert about becoming a new parent. The good news was she was asking for help in advance – She was scheduled to deliver the following Monday and her meeting with this expert was taking place on the preceding Friday, not quite 3 full days before she would bring into the world a brand new baby. To follow is the bad news…
The expert started with a basic intake assessment to determine how much help and information this new mother-to-be needed. The nine month pregnant woman was not able to answer one question correctly, nor could she demonstrate on a doll how she could care for a totally dependent infant. When the expert asked her to show changing a baby’s diaper, she asked, “I have to do THAT?”
The expert decided to take a different approach and here is how the interview continued.
Expert, “Will you have help?”
Mother-to-be response, “Oh, yes we have hired a nanny.”
Expert, “Is she going to live in?”
Mother-to-be response, “On, no, she’s only here during the day or when we are away.”
The expert turned to the audience and mouthed, “She doesn’t have a clue.” To the expectant mother, “So, how do you plan to care for the baby when the Nanny is not there?”
The mother-to-be just stared back looking puzzled.
The sad part of this entire scenario for me is that this response is so, so typical. Caring for a company is like caring for a child is a massive responsibility,and yet, everyday people jump in without a thought for their responsibilities and roles. That is just a disaster waiting to happen.
We have to stop using “I don’t know” as an answer. Start coming in prepared with research, education, questions and an interest to be accountable to and for our responsibilities.
Let’s start taking ownership instead of looking for the easy way out or believe me, we will be learning some really hard lessons.