I’ll keep this brief.
My head hurts. There’s too much noise. It’s everywhere. Email, RSS, Tweats, Friendfeed, etc. Political noise getting in the way of the real issues. Facebook noise stopping real communication. There’s even noise about noise – search the Twitter stream for “noise” – lots of folks are overwhelmed.
Maybe it’s given us all technologically-induced ADD. Who can focus for more than a minute?!?! Try and unplug – it’s like quitting smoking or drinking or any bad habit. Your skin crawls, your mind races. Your breathing speeds up, as does your heart. “What’s going on? What am I missing?”
Thoreau suggested that our lives are frittered away by detail. “Simplify, simplify.”
Which is why I don’t post more than once a day and not on weekends – let’s give it a rest once in a while.
I love technology. I love what the web has done to improve lives and give people the opportunity to grow beyond the boundaries of their physical communities and learning resources. But PLEASE! Don’t you hate when people use their cell phones loudly on the train? Don’t you hate it when the TV in the next room is up too loud and you can’t read? Don’t you hate it when the kid next door is banging on his (drums, guitar, clarinet- whatever) and you can’t think? YOU wouldn’t make that noise!
If you were to ask a lot of people what the three hardest words to say (as distinct from pronounce), you might be surprised. For men, women think they’re “I love you” or “let’s get directions”. For women, a guy might say they’re “You were right”. The sad reality is that in business, they seem to be “I don’t know.”
I’ve been in a lot of meetings where someone has floated an outrageous hypothesis to the room and asked someone to respond. For example, “if we gave you $3 million more next year, what would the additional revenues be in 5 years?” OK, not outrageous, but also not something one should be answering off the top of one’s head. Or maybe “what will your biggest competitor be doing in six months?”. In today’s evolving environment, many folks aren’t exactly sure what they’ll be doing themselves, so why try to answer about a competitor?
But people do because they can’t say the three words.
It’s taken me quite a few years in business to be able to say them when I’m really not sure and there have been many other occasions when I’d wished I had. Our personal credibility is at stake and an extra hour or day or week to really answer the question can make a big difference.
So as a consultant, sometimes “I don’t know” is the best answer you can give a client because it lays the framework for what follows. Generally, your client doesn’t know answer either and the partnership of discovery is what make this fun and rewarding for us both!