This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.
I grew up professionally in a world where knowing stuff was paramount (IT consulting) and I continue to live in a world where the same is true (professional services).
The more I learn about what it takes to have extraordinary relationships, the more I realize that knowing stuff is a problem.
Knowing stuff is a way we all naturally guard against uncertainty, ambiguity, and our own fears.
The problems with knowing stuff about stuff:
Side note: Paradoxically, confessing ignorance with clarity and confidence is one of the best ways to strengthen your credibility. My favorite line from Charlie Green’s blog on this topic: “After all, technical knowledge can always be looked up; personal courage and integrity are in far shorter supply.”
The problems with knowing stuff about people:
Side note on this one: In workshops, I often hear, “I couldn’t do/say that—he’d do/say this in response, and that would be bad!” Consider this: Assuming we know how someone will act or react is a profound act of arrogance that stops us from interacting in the very way that might actually invite a totally different response.
To sum it up, being in a state of already knowing leads to narrow focus, disconnection, and arrogance. By contrast, unknowing builds relationships. Being constantly interested in our clients, customers, prospects, peers, leaders, suppliers, even our competitors, means we’ll always be poised to learn, to positively influence, and to create connection.
This week, look for every opportunity you can find to discover something new—about the world, about other people, about yourself. Make a quick list of what you learned at the end of each day.
Review the curious case of curiosity in selling, from our friends at Trusted Advisor Associates, or brush up on the five fundamental attitudes the provide a foundation for building trust in Chapter 2 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.