The Chief Executive of Deloitte AG, Simon Owen, posted something on LinkedIn recently that really resonated with me.
Commenting on an article that suggests the biggest barrier to learning is your own ego, he said,
‘…[W]hilst I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with the author I do think pride / fear of failure play a major role here. The more senior the individual, the more fearful they become with regard to being ‘found out’ that they don’t actually have all the answers.’
Quite an admission from a senior member of one of the top professional services firms in the world.
But he’s right, of course. Admitting that you don’t have the answer when a whole team or entire company looks to you for guidance can be a very difficult thing to do.
Somewhere in the back of our minds, if we don’t know how to do something and have to ask for help we worry that we will be perceived as weak or incompetent.
And weak or incompetent are two things you definitely don’t want to be associated with when you hold a senior role in a business.
Unfortunately, this cultivates a situation where leaders can be hesitant (at best) to reveal they don’t know everything, preferring instead to pretend they are experts in something they aren’t. Or worse, avoiding subjects they aren’t well-versed in all together.
A smart man once wrote, ‘No man is an island’ — words that couldn’t be truer even three-hundred-and-something years after John Donne wrote them.
No one gets anywhere by doing it alone, and the truth of the matter is that sometimes the best person for the job isn’t you anyway.
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. You may not have the answer to that specific question or problem, but you do have the wisdom to know that allocating it to someone who does will not only save you time and money, but will also help your business grow.
If you know your firm would benefit from a competitive marketing strategy, but aren’t quite sure what that might entail or how best to implement it, get in touch.
We don’t claim to know everything, but we do know marketing!