Don't "I don't know" Me

My high school business professor used to say "I don't know" isn't an answer. It's an excuse. It's a cop out. "I don't know" means you're not thinking. You're not even trying. You've pretty much said "I quit."

His point of view was, you should always at least give it a shot. You never know, you may be right, or half right.

One of my frustrations sometimes dealing with students, interns and juniors is this business of "I don't know."

I've had people come back empty-handed with nothing but a shrug and an "I didn't know" or an "I wasn't sure."

*insert bbm huh face* 

I mean, I don't understand.

Speak into my good ear.

1. Why did you wait until the assignment was due or until I checked in to say you were unsure?
2. Why did you being unsure make it okay for you not to do the assignment?

Seriously guys. If you don't know, ask a question. And ask it early. Ask when you're getting briefed. Ask right after you've gotten briefed. Ask when you sit down to work. Ask until you are 100% clear on everything. I wasn't kidding when I said Always Ask Questions

No one is going to be mad at you for asking questions. They will be mad, however, if you miss a deadline.

And if no one is there to answer, just try. Make something up. Take a guess. We're creators. Create something.

This business is about solving problems. So solve a fricking problem. 

All that can happen is that you're wrong and have to try again.

And here's the best part about advertising - there are no wrong answers. And better yet, there are 50 right answers.

So try this. Or that. Or something else.

If you're wrong, learn from it and try again. If you're right, learn from it and try again.

"I don't know" is accepting defeat and if you're not going to fight, then take your toys and go home.