3 Words that Create Instant Credibility

When it comes to credibility-building, the three most powerful words in the English language are: “I don’t know.”

Many salespeople and most managers think that they’ll lose credibility if they admit ignorance, especially about something about which they “ought” to know. However, the exact opposite is the case.

Admitting ignorance makes everything else you say more credible. Admitting ignorance marks you as a person who’s not afraid to speak the truth, even when that truth might reflect poorly on you.

Needless to say, the “I don’t know” should be followed by a plan to discover the information that’s required, if the issue is truly important. And you WILL be judged on whether you deliver on that promise.

But here’s the thing: people dislike a know-it-all. They can often sense, at a gut level, when they’re being BSed. Even if they’re taken in, when they find out (as usually happens) that they’ve been BSed, they never trust the BSer again.

How to Harness the Power

As entrepreneurs we are used to being our own one-stop-shop. Successful leaders know their own strengths and accept their weaknesses. Finding the right partners or teammates early on who can compliment your skills maximizes results and can often differentiate a successful business from a doomed one.

Collaborations allow several benefits, including:

•    They provide better deliverables by using people for their strengths, compensating for your weaknesses.

•    They bring more resources to the table.

•    They allow for idea exchange.

•    They expand your work into other areas.

•    They introduce new insights and discoveries.

Key Steps for Collaboration

First identify the need for the partnership

Understand your strengths and weaknesses and write them down. Think about all the key areas: not just accounting and finance, technology, sales and marketing, communications, operations and strategy, but graphic design, social media and creativity.

Collaborators are not only necessary to maintain business operations but also to expand your product or service into new areas. Zaha Hadid, a world-renowed architect, used collaboration to create a limited-edition collection of tennis shoes for Lacoste. Using fluid grips, which wrap around the foot, the shoes are specially designed to move with the body.

“Teamwork has been very important to me for a long time. I’ve always believed in it,” she told me. “A brilliant design still benefits from the input of others. . . . You must learn early on that you can’t do everything yourself; you can do bits of it yourself, you can ask people to do things the way you want them done, but you also have to rely on their strengths and abilities.”

Put feelers out

The right partner is crucial in helping you grow, but the wrong partner can eat up time and resources. Ask friends, family, and colleagues for possible leads.  Referrals and references can mark the difference between A player and a C player.

Evaluate the partner’s capabilities and strengths

Finding a partner with the complimentary skills is essential, but finding someone with a genuine passion for the project is even better.

Assess the working situation 

You have to like working together.  Partnerships won’t flourish and grow out of resentment or ill will.  The best collaborations come from a healthy and solid relationship.

Set up an initial project with a limited time period to test the relationship

Whether it is two weeks, a month, six months; it’s important to clearly communicate expectations and agree upon how to measure success within a given time frame.

Keep evaluating along the way

Sometimes one collaborator isn’t enough.  It’s important to understand how all partners are contributing and to stop and check-in along the way.  Collaborations have to work for all the partners or else you will hit a dead-end.

Think about collaborations as more than just ways to compensate for your weaknesses-;they are bigger than the sum of their parts, and as such they can help you or your organization to advance.

Never want to be late Again?

Stop Rushing BY 

Think you’re only on time because you hurry? Actually it’s all that rushing that’s making you late.


Does this sound familiar?

“For many years, the only way I knew to get from one place to another was to rush. I was chronically ‘running late.’ In fact I couldn’t conceive of managing time in any other way. I usually would get to an appointment in the nick of time, but never without a rush.”

And how about this next observation, does it also ring true for you?

“It’s common to treat each other terribly when we’re ‘in a hurry.'”

Both quotes come from a blog post by coach Linda Gabriel on happiness site Tiny Buddha.In-depth, thought-provoking and generous, the piece tells the story of Gabriel’s previous life as a chronically late working mother and is packed with details that many time-crunched business owners will identify with.

The set up and problem may be all too familiar, but Gabriel’s solution is far from expected. In fact, her eventual fix for her crazed schedule was simple but utterly counter-intuitive. She just stopped rushing.

Wait. What? How?

If that’s your reaction, the complete post is worth a read in full, but the essence of Gabriel’s argument is that, “rushing and being late are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. When we are in rush mode, we believe we have to not be late in order not to rush.The truth is if you stop rushing, you’re far less likely to be late.”

If you’re skeptical, Gabriel offers up her own life as an example and testifies that as soon as she vowed to stop hurrying everywhere, “much to my astonishment, I started to be on time. All the time. If I ran into traffic and arrived late, I just relaxed into it. More often than not the timing was perfect anyway.”

But if you find this too perfect to be believed, perhaps the best bet, she suggests, is simply to try it for yourself. What’s the worst that can happen after all?

For those hard-charging types who are about as likely to embrace this zen approach as they are to grow flippers and take to the sea, there is more practical advice availablewhich involves handicapping your time estimates and investing in some more clocks. But perhaps don’t dismiss the wisdom of simply letting go of your stress and accepting whatever time you’re actually going to arrive quite so quickly It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but it has strong backing from psychologists, doctors and thousands of years of spiritual tradition.


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