Investment bankers, Consultants, Business Owners, Private Equity professionals have a way of viewing business and these can be quite divergent on account of differing perceptions. Senior professionals and Industry experts seldom use the phase “I don’t know”, because they think, to do their job they need to project the image of “knowing it all”. So somewhere along the line, the phase “….You Know….” became the Normal in communication.

The phase gets used in many ways.  As a sort of “read between the lines” on the assumption that the listener is on the same wave length as the speaker. Sometimes it just means “I know something but you may know more” and sometimes it gets used as tool for self-preservative deflection – probability of someone saying “No, I don’t know” as a counter response is low.   Over a period of time this pattern of behavior moved down and across a larger universe of professional workers and services becoming reflective of a global culture where a) people want to be heard more than understood and b) people are expected to know it all.

When you pivot from being a senior professional to an entrepreneur of a start up, one of the first things you learn is that using the phase “……You Know…” or not responding with a “No… I don’t know…please explain it to me….” in getting your work done, can result in delays and losses.  When I started out, the first thing I did was speak to people I knew who had seen both success and failure in business and I told them I know nothing about entrepreneurship, what are the mistakes I should avoid. Whenever I had to get work done from vendors  – I started by telling them I know nothing, what can they tell me so that I can understand more about the work they do and how they go about it.  And I learned…..because they were kind enough to share with me some of their experiences….  this helped me in building something in a manner I can take pride in. I did what I wanted to do in the most cost efficient manner possible (I was under budget) and I managed to get better results than I expected. I am grateful to all the people who were kind enough to teach me what I would otherwise never have known.      

One of the changes the Pandemic bought with it was the public use of the phase “ I don’t know”.  Some experts in the world used this phase in the context of economic recovery, business leaders in the context of business. With this emerged the realisation for behavioral change and the utility value of tech.  This is the time to unlearn and relearn, reprioritise and work together as well as challenge old assumptions such as style of working, hiring, marketing, conducting business, raising capital etc. We may just want to, with an open mind, go back to some old basics, junk some of the normal practices while creating newer ones going forward.