I’ll find out…

Since it is Veterans’ Day, do take the time to thank veterans that you know. Their service and sacrifices have allowed us to live in a better world.

While I was thinking about this holiday and what it means to me, it called to mind something from my experience that might help your career…

Years ago when I was a plebe(freshman) at the U.S. Naval Academy, I quickly ‘learned’ that there were only five acceptable responses to a direct question:

  1. Yes, sir
  2. No, sir
  3. Aye aye, sir
  4. No excuse, sir
  5. I’ll find out, sir

That was it. No wiggle room. No maybe, perhaps, or almost…

And most importantly – no ‘I don’t know’… #5 was clearly intended to block that out of our vocabulary.

Since that time I have avoided saying ‘I don’t know’ as much as humanly possible. I recommend you do the same. You don’t have to stick to #5 above as I had to at the Academy, but just try replacing it with something that is not so useless. How about something like ‘Let me look into that’. Or ‘what can I do to help?’

Don’t get me wrong here. There are a lot of times in your work where you really don’t know and that’s perfectly fine. You never want to pretend that you have the answers when you don’t.

It is just better if you step into solving the problem or finding the answer rather than just throwing up your hands and walking away. Or making people ask you to help out.

Don’t forget to thank our veterans!

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