PIE 2019: Get Comfortable With “I Don’t Know” – Colleen Niese, Marlyn Group 

January 07, 2019

Get Comfortable With “I Don’t Know” – Colleen Niese, Marlyn Group 

Early in my career, I was terrified when someone asked me to do something that I had no idea how to accomplish.  I would run off on a secret mission to try and figure out how the heck I was going to resolve an issue, answer a question, whatever the request may have asked of me, all the while creating massive amounts of artificial stress.  As you can imagine, let’s just say the results were a mixed bag of hits and misses.  One of my best mentors once said to me: “The day you know everything, is the day you should retire.”  Meaning, as leaders our job isn’t to know all, our job is to recognize who (including ourselves) can and cannot do what to then line up the best person for each challenge, issue, project, etc.  It was a pivotal moment for me and from that point on, when asked to accomplish something I wasn’t super-confident on doing, my first question became (and remains) “who’s on my team?” 

During my presentation at this year’s PIE Show and Exhibition on March 13th I talk specifically about how important it is for leaders at any level to get comfortable with the phrase, “I don’t know” but to follow up with, “I’ll find out.” Then by doing so, you yourself learn whatever may be on hand and as well, model for others what it looks like to use humility and commitment as part of your leadership code, to rather be honest than attempt to be right and as importantly get stuff done to move the needle for your organization in the right direction.

Colleen M. Niese

Principal, Marlyn Group


Marlyn Group is a consultancy specializing in building and advancing strong teams in the parking industry. Our holistic approach combines executive search and placement with management consulting to provide unique insights. From search to strategy, we shape and advise excellent teams to drive business and intrinsic results.  Learn more by visiting www.marlyngroupllc.com. cm