You dont know

You don’t know what you don’t know

Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.

Sometimes this is a result of natural aptitude or education and sometimes it’s just a case of what information you’ve been exposed to or people who you’ve learnt from.

I remember going into an organisation where there was a poor reporting process. A staff member spent all day (every day!) manually counting the days between two dates on a report to determine the SLA performance. They knew they could so a simple subtraction formula to count the days lapsed but if they did that – it would include weekends which skewed the results. So each day, this person would spend nearly all day manually counting the working days between two dates on hundreds of rows of data.

However, the same result could be achieved in seconds with a simple formula.

But you don’t know what you don’t know.

I remember years ago spending hours and hours adjusting the headings, logos and page numbers on every single slide of huge PowerPoint presentations because I didn’t know there was such a thing as a Slide Master or what that did.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

It doesn’t have to be limited to Microsoft programmes – any process may be a poor process simply because you are constrained by your skills and experience. This is why we try and involve Subject Matter Experts when designing a new process, but often, we involve people who are available, rather than the most suitable.

If you are implementing a process that uses Excel, go and find someone who is awesome at Excel. Or if it involves a system, go and find a subject matter expert for that system.

If you’re redesigning a process with a compliance requirement, how about going and finding out if that compliance requirement still exists (or ever existed in the first place!).

It’s almost never wrong to ask for help. But I would argue that it almost always is wrong to fail to ask for help if you need it.

Of course, no one intentionally sets out to make a poor process. Sometimes you’re constrained by others, rules, systems, your boss, another department and sometimes, you simply just don’t know what you don’t know.