We’re told ‘knowledge is power’.
So does ‘not knowing’ imply powerlessness?
Surely not knowing is exactly why people build startups?
Aren’t all great discoveries inspired by the unknown?
Isn’t curiosity the continual fuel that keeps founders going?
Not knowing sounds pretty powerful to me.
Novelist Pico Iyer suggests the opposite to knowledge isn’t always ignorance. But instead wonder and mystery. Two drivers for innovation right there.
So why do many of us avoid admitting that we don’t know?
Leaders sometimes think being caught without the answer could ruin their reputation or tarnish their perceived expertise. But in reality, if a founder, manager or dare I say it, politician, were to put their hand up and say, ‘You know what, I don’t have a clue. Let’s find out’ I’d imagine only reassurance, respect and trust would be built in that moment.
Outcomes following the admittance of not knowing can often be better than ‘knowing’.
Because it forces the function of having to go find out. Driving us to hire people who know what we don’t. Stoking fresh opportunities for contribution and collaboration across teams, building alignment and trust all by the process of discovering something together.
Pretending to to have the answer and being caught out comes with it’s own fatalities. So maybe you should reflect on what you don’t know. Own it. Talk about it. Weaponise it. It could be your edge.
I guess that’s why Maimonides said, ‘Teach your tongue to say I don’t know and ye shault progress.’
But who knows.