A colleague of mine likes to start meetings out by saying, “If I’m the smartest person in the room, we are all in trouble.”
He is actually a very confident person who knows a lot about a lot of things in the communications and technology industries. But he also knows there are a lot of things he doesn’t know squat about.
I like working with him because he values the smarts I bring to the table and is willing to “bring it,” putting his experiences to work for others rather than hording all his knowledge.
It sounds trite, but everyone has something to teach. I learned some of my best customer service lessons from a receptionist. She instinctively knew the power of saying “I don’t know,” and “Let me get back to you with an answer.” The most important lesson here? The power of actually getting back to someone with the answer. It may sound obvious but for so many busy professionals, out of site is out of mind and that is bad for business.
Not all business strategy comes from an MBA program or even on-the-job experience. I’ve learned about pricing strategies from the guy who mows my lawn (love the pre-payment, two mows free option!). About the barter system from my brother-in-law. A whole heck of a lot from my accountant. I learned about how to compassionately fire someone from a friend at the BMV (seriously). I learned a big lesson on setting goals from my daughter just yesterday.
Don’t be so busy trying to be the only person who is right in the room that you miss the lessons all around you. Learn from everyone.