You don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to your brand as a leader.

Do you ever think about your blind spots? We all have them. We know what we know, but do we know what we don’t? This is a lesson I learned early in my life – a lesson that has inspired me stay open and curious.


When we were little, our dad used to say, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

It was constant. He would drop us off at school, roll down the window and holler, “Winnie and Lorrie—remember, you don’t know what you don’t know.” We would bow our heads quietly and keep going. Birthdays, friends over, Sunday dinners, he would say, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” We would look at him and say “yeah dad…”

It took us a long time to “get it”—to understand what he was trying to teach us—to understand why he kept repeating himself and how it became a core way of thinking in our upbringing.

Fast forward to today—there is so much out there that we don’t know.

Do you know what people are saying about you right now?

Do you know the condition of your personal reputation?

If not, then you need to get a clearer picture of these external perceptions because not knowing what your team, audience, connections, followers and promoters are saying can be detrimental to your role as a leader.

Once upon a time, you didn’t have to worry about what audiences or critics had to say about you. Opinions were shared within a small circle of people who leaders interacted with. A leader’s reputation was more often shaped by the opinions expressed in the “press,” by reporters and journalists, whose opinions were most often read locally by others. This is not the case today.

Warren Buffett says ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.’

Stay curious and open.

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