With my family I was once in Bath, an ancient Roman city in England. A city tour was part of it. Edutainment – entertainment and interesting facts.
The guide surprised us right at the beginning.
„You can ask me anything, you like, about the city, about the Romans and even to my private life. I will do my best to answer. But if you hear me saying
⏭ Oh, that’s a good question! ⏮
then you`ll know, that I have no clue.”
It went through my head in a flash. How many times had I heard this phrase, and only now did I understand what it meant. “I have no idea. I don’t know.”
In the following years of my corporate business life, I consciously paid attention to this saying and heard it again and again. In business meetings, in lectures, in discussion rounds. Countless times. Usually this was followed by a cumbersome attempt at explanation or a distraction on other things. Rarely I heard the honest and disarming answer: „I don’t know. Let me clarify this in a follow-up“.
In my own team meetings, I informed my employees about this and introduced this phrase as my answer as a kind of code. Namely for the fact that I do not have a suitable solution to the question at this very moment. And most of the time I got a benevolent laugh from the team afterwards. According to the motto: we can do it together.
But what was even more important:
Corporate event, for example with the Executive Board. My team was there together with me as listeners. And then we heard the board answer a question with this phrase:
⏭ Oh, that’s a good question! ⏮.
My team understood this immediately. Me too. After all, it was our code.
I love this phrase because it is a self-confession of not knowing everything and thus opens doors to joint problem solving (co-creation).
➡ And you? Do you always have an answer to every question for your team?