My father always said to me … ‘if you don’t know what you’re talking about – keep your mouth shut’…
This little gem has saved me endless times in meetings and in marriage – where if I had run with my first thought and spoken up – I would’ve made a real ass of myself.
So why, oh, why can’t some of my clients use this handy little saying?
The number of times I’ve had to listen to customers try and tell ME about invasive species – when they know nothing about what they’re talking about and have gleaned their information from an article they read in the Daily Mail four years ago.
How many times have I had people say to me – ‘I don’t really believe Japanese knotweed is a problem – it’s all been hyped up in the newspapers…’ or…. ‘I’m not going to do anything about Himalayan balsam …it’s good for bees…and bees are struggling…’
Please, please let the experts talk to you about invasive species – don’t believe everything you read. You know newspapers are just trying to make headlines to gain readership. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing – let us resolve your problems without the need for drama.
Why employ an ‘expert’ …if you’re not going to listen?
I think within certain industries some people have made their job by just bullying everyone around them into submission. Nobody dare argue with them as they’ve been there so long that they’ve almost attained mythical status and cannot be reasoned with.
I consider myself pretty open minded. I listen. I think. Then I respond.
I’ve often been known to say to people – ‘give me twenty-four hours and I will get back to you’. It’s much better to do some research, check a few facts then make a reasoned judgement and a decision than to chatter on, talking about something you know nothing about.
I’ve even been known to go back to someone I’ve fallen out with, apologise, admit I was wrong and try and patch up the working relationship*. It’s all part of running a business and being a human being.
Marriage can be pretty similar to running a business.
Many decisions need to be discussed and compromises made.
Most of my early married life I was a complete asshole and now look back on some of the things I did with painful embarrassment. My wife not only put up with me but took it upon herself to manage and train me into some semblance of what she wanted from a husband. It wasn’t easy and there were a few moments where she left and moved back with her mother – but in most instances I took on board what she was saying and managed my behavior accordingly.
I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and only speak when I’ve got the facts straight. I’m usually wrong about most things within our family life but luckily, I have a partner who gets most things right.
Not listening and not taking advice is a sure way to fuck up in business …and to fuck up in life.
*NB I’m not talking about you – you dick head – there’s no going back on that situation – fuck you.