//When is the last time you said. “I don’t know”?

When is the last time you said. “I don’t know”?

2018-09-14T02:00:15+00:00

Being fearless about truth makes you straightforward when you face uncertainty.

Quality & Me

Subir shares short stories about what people do to make a difference everywhere they go. We can make huge contributions to the way we function as a society by standing out as an example within our own community: at work, at our places of worship, among our colleagues, friends, and family. All it takes is the courage to step up and being straightforward, thoughtful, accountable, and resilient.

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Books by Subir

The Power of LEO
The Ice Cream Maker
The Power of Design for Six
The Power of Six Sigma
Organization 21c

I admit it: I don’t have all the answers. But I do have confidence. Enough confidence to know what I don’t know—and admit it.  Enough confidence to speak up and out when I know something isn’t quite right.

Being straightforward means you know when to speak up even if you don’t have the answer. When I admit I don’t know something, it doesn’t mean I can’t learn or solve a problem.  In fact, I generally work harder when I don’t know something than when I do.

Truly successful people aren’t afraid of these three words: “I don’t know.” They don’t let their egos or pride hold them back. When you are straightforward, not only will you be more successful, but you will also have more fun being successful. Why?  You’ll have nothing to fear. You are completely liberated.  You don’t have to remember the last lie you made up, or who you told it to.

I was at a meeting hosted by an organization that provides financial support to low-income countries. Everyone there was straightforward, and I enjoyed participating. We spent our time at the meeting discussing what extreme poverty was, and how we could help eliminate it. On the last day, each of us received a folder of materials, including copies of the presentations that had taken place.

What shocked me was that most of the material was a collection of materials we had all already received electronically before the meeting.  Most of it was comprised of bios meant to stroke our egos! Here we were, talking about ending extreme poverty, and we had wasted resources printing out materials we had already received.

I decided to put my caring mindset to work and be straightforward.  I asked the entire group what we were thinking.  I told them we could have fed twenty people with the money we wasted on paper and printing. The thing is, everyone agreed!  A healthy discussion of the organization’s inefficiencies resulted, and we made a lot of progress toward out goals.

By being straightforward, we were able to make progress.

When has pride pushed you back?

Pride exists at the organizational level and can just as easily become tainted.  Think about it.  How many times have you witnessed senior level executives not acknowledging a problem? The reason?  Pride.  Ego.  They don’t want to admit that there is a problem because of ego:  someone else will think they’re weak, or that they’ll lose face.  To admit your decision was wrong means you are weak, correct?  Absolutely the opposite!

Global Quality Awareness (GQA) Initiative

Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are? Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence?

Making Choices

Subir reflects on his arrival into the United States with the promise of a job, only to find that the promise is broken. Practically penniless, Subir searches deep into his soul. Undefeated and undeterred, Subir pursues professors and department heads until he meets one who asks: You went to 20 departments, and now it is the 21st one; if I say no to you what you would do? Subir tells him, "I will go to the 22nd." This is Subir's story, not of conquest, but of perseverance in the face of making difficult choices.

Valuable Trash

Not all waste is created equal. Some of it is extremely valuable; especially when it teaches us something about the way we run our business. The owner of an insurance brokerage in Los Angeles, CA – we will call him “Cooper” – relayed this story to us recently.